June 18th, 2024

Kodiaks volleyball teams begin playoff runs in new format

By Lethbridge Herald on March 4, 2022.

The Lethbridge College Kodiaks men’s and women’s volleyball teams’ Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference playoffs begin in an all-new format.
For the Kodiaks women, it starts tonight at the Val Matteotti Gymnasium as the 8-8 Kodiaks host the SAIT Trojans, while the 9-7 Kodiaks men hit the road to take on the Trojans in Calgary.
Under the new format, the Kodiaks will need to win two single-elimination games to qualify for the conference’s final four which will be played March 11-12.
If the Kodiaks win tonight, they’ll head to Red Deer Polytechnic on Sunday to take on the RDP Queens/Kings in an ACAC quarter-final matchup.
After capturing fourth place in the ACAC South Division thanks to their 8-8 record, the Kodiaks women’s team returns to the ACAC postseason for the first time since 2018 as they take on the 6-10 Trojans.
The Kodiaks are 5-3 at home this season and have gone 2-1 in their season series against the Trojans.
Lethbridge beat SAIT 3-1 Jan. 14 and Feb. 5, but were swept 3-0 Feb. 6 in Calgary.
Last month, the Kodiaks pushed the second-nationally ranked Queens to a fifth set before losing a close 3-2 match.
“I am very happy with how we have performed this season,” said Kodiaks head coach Anna Schwark in a release. “We had some awesome highs and some lows, but through it all we really used every experience as a learning opportunity. It’s a big reason why we competed so well against the current first and second place teams.”
The Kodiaks won the season series, but the hosts are aware the Trojans will bring a tough game tonight.
“No matter who we see on the other side of the net in this league, we know it won’t be an easy win,” said Schwark. “I think going into this weekend with a competitive mindset and being ready for a push-back will be the most important mental factor we need to keep under control.”
Fourth-year veteran Jamie Brown sits in fifth place in the ACAC with 188 kills. Mack Lewicki is 16th with 126.
Lewicki is also 13th in the league in digs with 145. Brown is in 16th with 141.
The Kodiak men open on the road against an opponent they’ve seen three times in the past month.
Lethbridge beat SAIT 3-2 Feb. 5, but were downed in five sets Feb. 6
In the battle for third place in the ACAC South Division Feb. 19, the Trojans prevailed in another five-set thriller.
Kodiaks head coach Greg Gibos noted an up and down season that proved to be a learning experience with injuries and adversity.
“The regular season has been an excellent teacher of resilience and grit,” he said. “This team has overcome injuries and illness that decimated the roster over various parts of the season. We’ve started nine different lineups due to various alignments and it’s brought the group together through shared adversity. We’re looking forward to using these skills during the playoffs which will require the additional mental toughness during these exciting next few weeks.”
In 2020, the Kodiaks earned their first berth in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association championship and return to the postseason after losing the 2021 season to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve been waiting for moments like this since our plane touched down from Fredericton in 2020,” said Gibos. “The emotions, joy and excitement that come from championships are something these athletes dream of. We can’t wait for that first serve Friday night to begin to chase the opportunity for another ACAC championship. I know our athletes will dedicate themselves fully to each other.”
Second-year Kodiak Nolan Moes hammered 170 kills in the regular season, good for sixth in the ACAC. Jackson Gaehring sits in 15th place in 137 kills.
Malcolm Fisher’s 135 digs places him in fourth in the ACAC.
The Kodiaks have announced there will be no capacity restrictions in place this weekend. Masking will be encouraged, but not mandatory, and food and drink will be allowed inside the Val Matteotti Gymnasium.
Special ticket prices will be in effect for tonight’s women’s game.
Admission is free to students with Lethbridge College ID cards and is $6 for adults, $3 for seniors, youth and alumni and $2 for college employees and University of Lethbridge students (with valid U of L ID cards).

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