Pandas enter U SPORTS Championships in search of the programs eighth national title

    Pandas open their bid at U SPORTS Championships against Mount Royal Cougars

    By Aly Andersen on March 10, 2020

    EDMONTON – The top university women’s volleyball teams will head to Calgary this week, as the University of Calgary will host the 2020 U SPORTS Volleyball National Championships starting Friday at the Jack Simpson Gym.

    The Pandas will head south ranked No. 4 after being finalists in the Canada West Final, falling 3-2 (26-24, 25-23, 18-25, 18-25, 15-8) in the single-game championship to the No. 1 ranked Trinity Western Spartans.

    Kicking off the weekend playing conference rivals, the No. 5 Mount Royal Cougars, The Pandas will look to continue their success over the Cougars after defeating them in the best-of-three conference semifinals just two weeks ago.

    Game time for the quarter-final match is set for 7:30 p.m. MST and will be streamed live on U SPORTS LIVE.

    Full Championship Schedule & Results

    The Pandas will be in search of their eighth national championship in program history, six of which where consecutive championships between 1994-2000. Alberta has had plenty of success in the past, picking a medal in their last three trips to nationals, including a bronze medal last year. However, their last gold medal came back in 2007, which was also the last time Calgary hosted.

    A cut above the rest

    The Pandas had plenty of strong performances this season starting with 2020 Canada West Player of the Year Kory White who led U SPORTS with 4.78 kills per set, broke the Pandas single season record with 406 kills and 467.5 points. Her 4.78 kills per set mark also led the nation in kills per set.

    Meanwhile, teammates Elyse Hart and Jenae Eisler also had stellar performances in the Evergreen and Gold, with Hart also leading U SPORTS with 10.17 assists per set and Libero Jenae Eisler finishing sixth in U SPORTS with 329 digs.

    Familiar Foes

    Alberta will play lots of familiar faces at this year’s championship, with all four teams from Canada West making up one side of the bracket. The Pandas will meet the Cougars in the quarter-final on Friday and a chance to meet either the Spartans or Calgary Dinos in the semifinal on Saturday.

    It has been just two weeks since the Pandas and Cougars met. Alberta had the upper hand taking in the semifinal series in a Game 3 victory, winning 3-1 (25-18, 27-25, 22-25, 25-15). Both teams also met back in October, splitting the series with The Pandas taking the first game 3-2 (25-18, 20-25, 20-25, 25-20, 15-13) and the Cougars taking the second 3-0 (25-22, 25-19, 25-21). 

    SEEDING

    1. Trinity Western Spartans (Canada West champions: 22-2 regular season / 5-1 playoffs)

    2. Toronto Varsity Blues (OUA champions: 17-2 regular season / 3-0 playoffs)

    3. Dalhousie Tigers (AUS champions: 19-1 regular season / 4-0 playoffs)

    4. Alberta Pandas (Canada West finalists: 18-6 regular season / 4-3 playoffs)

    5. Mount Royal Cougars (Canada West bronze medalists: 21-3 regular season / 4-3 playoffs)

    6. Montreal Carabins (RSEQ champions: 13-7 regular season / 4-0 playoffs)

    7. Brock Badgers (OUA finalists: 14-5 regular season / 2-1 playoffs)

    8. Calgary Dinos (Hosts: 9-15 regular season / 0-0 playoffs)

     

    CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE (all times Mountain Standard)

    Friday, March 13 (Quarter-Finals)

     #2 Toronto vs #7 Brock, 1:00 p.m.

    #3 Dalhousie vs #6 Montreal, 2:30 p.m.

    #1 Trinity Western vs #8 Calgary, 6:00 p.m.

    #4 Alberta vs #5 Mount Royal, 7:30 p.m.

    Saturday, March 14 (Semifinals)

    Consolation Semifinal #1: 1:00 p.m.
    Consolation Semifinal #2: 2:30 p.m.
    Semifinal #1: 6:00 p.m.
    Semifinal #2: 7:30 p.m.

    Sunday, March 15 (Medal Round)

    Consolation Final: 12:00 p.m.
    Bronze: 3:00 p.m.
    Final: 6:00 p.m.