Volleyball Marauders, b-ball Mountaineers hosting Canadian championships in Hamilton


Published March 15, 2023 at 9:13 am

The obvious potential storybook finish seems obvious for the McMaster Marauders, from retiring coach Dave Preston to stars such as Mateusz Wlodarski to the rookies.

In what will be the finale to Preston’s two-plus decades on the sideline, the Marauders will be the No. 2-seeded host team for the U Sports men’s volleyball championship this weekend at the Burridge Gym in Hamilton. Anyone casually acquainted with the court sport is likely aware the Marauders have won the Ontario (OUA) conference title 11 times under Preston’s command across his 22 years of building and maintaining the maroon machine. But the Tantramar Trophy, the spoils that go to the victors at the Canadian championship, has eluded them.

Teams out of western Canada have won 48 of the 54 national titles. The No. 1-seeded Alberta Golden Bears account for eight of those triumphs. The six-time champion Trinity Western Spartans also loom as a potential semifinal foe for Mac. An OUA team has not won since the championship went to single-elimination in 1985.

The Marauders’ odyssey will start against a team from out west, as they will face the No. 7-seeded Saskatchewan Huskies on Friday (6 p.m., CBC platforms). Aforementioned Trinity Western faces Montréal in the day’s fourth and final match.

Mac went 18-2 in the regular season and retained the Forsyth Cup with a three-set sweep against the Windsor Lancers in the final last Saturday.

The aforementioned Wlodarski, a fifth-year outside hitter, won OUA’s Dale Iwanoczko Award of Merit for his performance on and off the court. The OUA first-team all-star is the first Marauders student-athlete to be accepted into the university’s biochemistry masters program after graduating summa cum laude — the highest distinction McMaster offers. Wlodarski also backed up the all-star selection with 10 kills in the win against Windsor. Fellow outside Brendan Mills is coming off a 12-kills, six-blocks effort in the final, and setter Robbie Fujisawa distributed 24 assists and a team-most 10 digs.

Marauders middle Tyler Pavelic, of Oakville, and libero Benjamin Kerkhoff were also OUA second-team all-star selections.

The schedule for Friday is as follows:

  • No. 8 Toronto Varsity Blues vs. No. 1 Alberta Golden Bears, 1 p.m.
  • No. 5 Windsor Lancers vs. No. 4 Sherbrooke Vert et Or, 3 p.m.
  • No. 7 Saskatchewan Huskies vs. No. 2 McMaster Marauders, 6 p.m.
  • No. 6 Montréal Carabins vs. No. 3 Trinity Western Spartans, 8 p.m.

The semifinals are set for 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturday (March 18). The Marauders, should they win on Friday, would face the Montréal-Trinity Western winner in the 6 p.m. match. Otherwise, the semifinal order will be flipped.

On Sunday, the fifth-place game is set for 12 noon, with the bronze medal game following at 2 p.m. and the championship game at 6 p.m.

Tickets for the event are currently on sale at usports.ca. The games are available on CBC online platforms.

Ian Eibbitt, Preston’s lead assistant coach, is expected to serve as interim coach until McMaster formally hires a head coach.

Mountaineers tip off today in women’s hoops championship

The Mohawk Mountaineers, including fifth-year forward Tia Stys and team scoring leader Rachel Guanzon, are going to see whether they are up to the task of competing with the top women’s college hoops teams in Canada.

The Mountaineers have had an 18-day lead-up for hosting the Canadian (CCAA) championship, which tips off this afternoon at Mohawk’s David Braley Athletic and Recreation Centre.

Mohawk is the No. 8 seed after a 5-12 season in Ontario (OCAA) conference play. The squad, whose roster includes eight first- or second-year players, did win their final three regular-season games in February prior to a first-round playoff exit against the Algonquin Thunder.

The entire tournament is free to stream at the CCAA YouTube channel, and Cable 14 Hamilton is carrying five of the 11 games. Day passes to the tournament are $15, and a tournament pass sells for $30.

One format feature that distinguishes the CCAA championship is that a quarterfinal defeat does not spell the end of medal hopes. The four teams that come out on the short end of the scoreboard on Day 1 move to a ‘bronze-medal bracket.’ As well, the semifinals are played on Thursday night, giving the top two teams a rest-and-recovery day before the final on Saturday night.

The U Sports women’s basketball Final 8 also involves three games in four days, but the rest day for gold-medal contenders is between the quarters and semis. The men’s tournament involves three games in as many days.

The Mountaineers face the No. 1-seeded Vancouver Island Mariners in the fourth quarterfinal tonight at 8 p.m.; here is the rest of the schedule.

Quarterfinals Wednesday

  • Mount Saint Vincent Mystics vs. Geants de Saint-Jean, 1 p.m.
  • Augustana Vikings vs. Humber Hawks, 3 p.m.
  • Dawson Blues vs. Red Deer Queens, 6 p.m.
  • Mohawk Mountaineers vs. VIU Mariners, 8 p.m.


  • Bronze quarterfinal 1 — Loser of Game 1 vs. Loser of Game 2, 1 p.m.
  • Bronze quarterfinal 2 — Loser of Game 3 vs. Loser of Game 4, 3 p.m.
  • Championship semifinal 1 — Winner of Game 1 vs. Winner of Game 2, 6 p.m.
  • Championship semifinal 2 — Winner of Game 3 vs. Winner of Game 4, 8 p.m.


  • Seventh-place game — Losers of the first two bronze quarterfinals, 2 p.m.
  • Bronze semifinal 1 — Bronze quarterfinal 2 winner vs. Championship semifinal 1 loser, 6 p.m.
  • Bronze semifinal 2 — Bronze quarterfinal 1 winner vs. Championship semifinal 2 loser, 8 p.m.

Championship Saturday

  • Bronze-medal game, 5 p.m.
  • Gold-medal game, 7:30 p.m.
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