The road to a national title begins at NC tomorrow (March 7), as the 2013 Ironwood Wealth Management Group CCAA Men’s Volleyball National Championship gets underway at the Welland Campus Athletic Centre.
As the seventh-ranked team in the nation, the home-team Niagara College Knights men’s volleyball program has earned a berth in the championship, and will open against second-ranked Capilano University Blues at 8 p.m.
At a pre-championship media conference today, Knights’ head coach Nathan Groenveld said he feel’s Niagara College’s men’s volleyball program is “absolutely” in a position to compete for a medal.
“I feel the strength of our schedulew and the competition we faced all year has prepared us well,” he said. “Our goal is to keep things simple. Teams that are successful at the nationals treat each match as if it’s a regular game.”
In order of ranking, the following teams will compete for the championship: Red Deer College Kings; Capilano University Blues; Nipissing University Lakers; Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) Trojans; Vancouver Island University Mariners; CÉGEP de l’Outaouais Griffons; Niagara College Knights; and the University of Kings College Blue Devils.
Opening-round games will run at 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. The consolation round is played at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Friday, March 8, and semi final games take place that night at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, March 9, begins with bronze qualifier round games at 10 a.m. and 12 p.m., the 7th/8th place game at 2 p.m., the bronze medal game at 6 p.m. and the gold medal game at 8 p.m.
“This is a unique opportunity for local sports fans to see national-calibre collegiate athletics and cheer on the Niagara College Knights right here at home,” said Matthew Davies, NC’s manager of athletics and recreation.
NC has been planning the championship for more than a year, with athletics coordinator Ray Sarkis serving as championship chair — taking the lead on the marketing, event management, sponsorship and volunteer recruitment for the national event.
“It’s a tremendous honour to be hosting one of the most prestigious collegiate events in the nation,” said Sarkis, who also served as chair of the successful 2011 CCAA Women’s Basketball National Championships. “I hope everyone will come out and enjoy some of the best volleyball action they’ll ever see.”
Admission to Championship games is $10 for adults and $5 for students at the door. A Championship pass is available for $25. The full schedule of games and results, as well as live-streaming is available online at www.ccaa.ca/mensvolleyball2013.