By Woodard, Dale on February 24, 2020.
As this year’s host of the Alberta College Athletic Conference men’s volleyball championship, the Lethbridge College Kodiaks spot was automatically secured.
Not that they wanted to hang their hats on that, nor did they.
Instead, as the Kodiaks wrapped up the ACAC regular season Saturday afternoon at the Val Matteotti Gymnasium, they rolled up their sleeves and earned their provincial berth the honest way with a 3-1 win over the Briercrest Clippers.
The win comes after a 3-1 win over Briercrest Friday night and gives the Kodiaks a 20-4 regular season record that locks up top spot in the ACAC South and, more importantly, the top seed in the ACAC championship they’ll host starting Thursday.
“It was very big,” said Kodiaks fifth-year veteran Carter Hansen, who had 17 kills, eight digs and two service aces in Saturday’s win. “We had a goal from the start and it was to lock up the number one seed and we put ourselves in a good position toward the end of the year where if we kept winning we’ll get that one seed and we’re very happy to have it.”
The Clippers won the first set 27-25, but the Kodiaks replied with 25-21, 25-16 and 25-16 set wins to take the match.
“Briercrest is such a high level team and when they’re going they’re really tough to stop,” said Kodiaks head coach Greg Gibos. “We were just waiting for a break in play. We know our consistency is always going to be there and I think you saw that today. The biggest thing for our guys to know was to just keep pushing, keep swimming and doing all those things that we do well and we’re never going to panic. We’re an older group and we’ve been in a lot of tough situations and I think it will serve us well coming into the ACACs.”
Kodiaks left side Michael Hummel had 11 digs in Saturday’s win as well as five service aces.
“It was just that drive,” he said. “We were a little bit flat in the first (set), but we found that gear and we came out in the second, third and fourth and put them away.”
Michael Svab had 13 kills for the Kodiaks and Jeremiah Bohnert added 10.
Tony Albizzati chipped in with eight digs.
The Kodiaks now take that number one seed into provincials, where they’ll face the Lakeland Rustlers Thursday.
The Rustlers were 11-13 to place fourth in the ACAC North Division.
“You always want to put yourself in the best position to do well in the postseason,” said Gibos. “Being the one seed means you get to crossover with the four instead of somebody else. Obviously, we are going to prepare for Lakeland like it is our last game of the year and then we will continue with preparations after that. We wanted it desperately all year and it was a goal from the start of the year. We knew we were hosting, but we also wanted to be the number one seed and we wanted to earn our way in. We’ve done that so far and now it’s going to be time for us to keep doing all of the rest of the things we need to be doing to be successful this week.”
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