Bears to open their 20th consecutive U SPORTS Championship bid on Friday

    Bears to face Toronto in national quarter-final on Friday

    By Aly Andersen on March 10, 2020

    EDMONTON – Heading into their 20th consecutive national championship, the Golden Bears will join the countries best men’s volleyball teams at the University of Manitoba for the 2020 U SPORTS Championships this week at the Investors Group Athletic Centre.

    The Bears will open the tournament ranked No. 4 and will face the No. 5 University of Toronto Varsity Blues in the quarter-finals on Friday night at 8:30 p.m. MST on U SPORTS LIVE.

    FULL SCHEDULE & RESULTS

    Alberta entered playoffs with an 18-4 record, winning 12 straight games to close out the regular season, while the Varsity Blues finished atop the standings in the OUA riding their own 13 game win streak into playoffs.

    Punching their ticket to nationals with a Canada West semifinal win over the UBC Thunderbirds, the Bears fell just short of a 15th conference title, falling to the No. 1 Trinity Western Spartans 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-22) in the single game final last weekend.

    History

    The Bears have won eight total national championships, with their most recent success coming in 2014 and 2015 when they won back-to-back. Meanwhile, their first opponent, the Varsity Blues, have had a major case of national blues. Toronto’s last trip to nationals came back in 2004, where finished in last place.

    The 2004 national championship also marks the last time these two teams met, with Alberta coming out on top in a 3-0 win.

    Chance at revenge

    After falling to the Spartans for the second time in the last three years in conference finals, Alberta will have a chance to take revenge in a possible semifinal match-up on Saturday. Both the Spartans and the Bears have met a total of three times this season, with Alberta winning one game back in October in an exciting five sets at home.

    Setting the mark

    Starting setter Max Elgart will be key in setting up the Bears outside hitters Jackson Kennedy, Jordan Canham, and Braedon Friesen for success, who combined for a total 972 kills in the regular season.

    Elgert led Canada West with 786 assists this season, while also setting a new program record with 41 aces, before adding another 237 assists in playoffs. He was also named a first team Canada West All-Star this season. 

    SEEDING

    1. Trinity Western Spartans (Canada West champions: 20-2 regular season / 5-1 playoffs)

    2. Montreal Carabins (RSEQ champions: 15-1 regular season / 4-0 playoffs)

    3. Queen’s Gaels (OUA champions: 14-4 regular season / 3-0 playoffs)

    4. Alberta Golden Bears (Canada West finalists: 18-4 regular season / 4-2 playoffs)

    5. Toronto Varsity Blues (OUA finalists: 17-1 regular season / 2-1 playoffs)

    6. McMaster Marauders (OUA bronze medalists: 15-2 regular season / 2-1 playoffs)

    7. Laval Rouge et Or (RSEQ finalists: 11-5 regular season / 2-3 playoffs)

    8. Manitoba Bisons (Hosts: 8-14 regular season / 0-0 playoffs)

     

    CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE (all times Central)

    Friday, March 13 (Quarter-Finals)

     #2 Montreal vs #7 Laval, 12:30 p.m.

    #3 Queen’s vs #6 McMaster, 2:30 p.m.

    #1 Trinity Western vs #8 Manitoba, 6:30 p.m.

    #4 Alberta vs #5 Toronto, 8:30 p.m.

    Saturday, March 14 (Semifinals)

    Consolation Semifinal #1: 12:30 p.m.
    Consolation Semifinal #2: 2:30 p.m.
    Semifinal #1: 6:30 p.m.
    Semifinal #2: 8:30 p.m.

    Sunday, March 15 (Medal Round)

    Consolation Final: 1:00 p.m.
    Bronze: 3:00 p.m.
    Final: 7:00 p.m.