Canada West Volleyball Previews

GetMyPhoto.ca
GetMyPhoto.ca

Highlights:

  • The defending U SPORTS champion Trinity Western Spartans (men's) and UBC Thunderbirds (women's) begin the 2017-18 Canada West season as favourites
  • Both teams topped the CW pre-season coaches polls, which saw both TWU and UBC earn first-place votes in the men's poll, while five women's teams earned at least one first-place vote
  • Both the men's and women's volleyball seasons open this Friday, with every conference game available once again this season by tuning intoCanada West TV

EDMONTON – The nation's top volleyball conference returns to action this Friday, as the 2017-18 Canada West volleyball schedule begins. 

Once again this season, there will be no shortage of talent – both individual and team – on display across the conference, as CW looks to make it 17 national titles in the last 18 seasons on the men's side, and 11 of 12 on the women's side.

COMPLETE MVB SCHEDULE

COMPLETE WVB SCHEDULE

In the men's pre-season poll, the defending U SPORTS champion Trinity Western Spartans enter the season the favourites to repeat, as last year's CW champions earned 140 points and eight first-place votes. Not far behind the Spartans are the UBC Thunderbirds (135 pts.), who finished fourth at the national tournament. Rounding out the top three are the 2017 national silver medalists the Alberta Golden Bears (119 pts.), who dropped the national championship game on home court to TWU back in March.

Together, the Spartans and Bears have combined to win the last four CW and U SPORTS titles and are expected to continue their battle for CW supremacy this season, along with UBC, who is searching for the program's first CW title since 1983-84. 

On the women's side, who emerges as the conference champions once the dust settles on the season is anyone's guess, as five teams received at least one first-place vote in the coaches poll.

The defending national champion T-Birds topped the list with 129 points and six first-place votes, while Alberta (127 pts.), Calgary (117 pts.), TWU (117 pts.), and UBC Okanagan (103 pts.) all cracked the century mark in the poll.

REVISED PLAYOFF FORMAT

The race to the CW championship has a new twist this season, as there will no longer be a conference Final Four tournament to determine the CW champion. Instead, the conference playoffs will lead to a single conference championship game, ensuring a host participates for conference gold, which was not guaranteed under the existing format. The number of playoff teams will also increase from seven to eight this season. 

The changes, which were approved at the CW AGM in May, mean best-of-three quarter-finals will be played February 22-25, then best-of-three conference semis March 1-4, and finally the CW championship game either March 9 or 10. A bronze medal game will also be played CW championship weekend in men's volleyball, as three conference teams are headed to nationals March 15-18 at McMaster University.

A bronze medal game, which will be used only in years when a third CW berth needs to be determined for nationals, will also be played in women's volleyball for seeding purposes, as four CW teams are headed to nationals at Université Laval.

Again this season every CW regular season and playoff volleyball game will be available online at Canada West TV. You can watch the games by purchasing a Canada West TV pass here.

For a complete look at all the CW men's volleyball teams, click here for the full conference men's preview, and for the full women's volleyball preview, click here.

2017 CW men's volleyball pre-season coaches poll

Place / Team / Points (First-place votes)

1.      Trinity Western / 140 (8)

2.      UBC / 135 (5)

3.      Alberta / 119

4.      Mount Royal / 98

5.      Calgary / 97

6.      Winnipeg / 81

7.      *Brandon / 78

8.      Saskatchewan / 78

9.      Manitoba / 52

10.  Thompson Rivers / 50

11.  UBC Okanagan / 46

12.  MacEwan / 27

13.  Regina / 13

NOTES: First-place vote worth 12 pts., second-place worth 11 pts. etc. / *Awarded higher position based on greater number of higher placed votes.       

2017 CW women's volleyball pre-season coaches poll

Place / Team / Points (First-place votes)

1.      UBC / 129 (6)

2.      Alberta / 127 (3)

3.      *Calgary / 117 (2)

4.      Trinity Western / 117 (1)

5.      UBC Okanagan / 103 (1)

6.      Mount Royal / 79

7.      Manitoba / 77

8.      Thompson Rivers / 72

9.      MacEwan / 65

10.  Saskatchewan / 50

11.  Brandon / 38

12.  Regina / 23

13.  Winnipeg / 17

NOTES: First-place vote worth 12 pts., second-place worth 11 pts. etc. / *Awarded higher position based on greater number of higher placed votes.