Abbotsford v-ballers excel at CIS nationals

It was a banner weekend for Abbotsford's volleyball community, as six local high school grads celebrated national university championships.

Trinity Western setter Ben Ball (left) goes up for a block against the Brandon Bobcats during the CIS championship game in Langley on Sunday.

Trinity Western setter Ben Ball (left) goes up for a block against the Brandon Bobcats during the CIS championship game in Langley on Sunday.

It was a banner weekend for Abbotsford’s volleyball community, as six local high school grads celebrated national university championships.

The Trinity Western Spartans hosted the CIS men’s nationals in Langley, and they claimed the title with a straight-sets win over the Brandon Bobcats (25-12, 25-22, 27-25) in Sunday’s final.

The Spartans’ roster features a trio of Abbotsford players – Mennonite Educational Institute products Ben Ball and John Wiebe, and Yale Secondary grad Brad Kufske.

Ball, the Spartans’ fourth-year setter, was named a first team tournament all-star after racking up 28 assists and seven blocks in the final.

“I’ve never felt anything like this before in my life,” Ball said afterward. “This has been four years in the making, and especially with last year, losing in the finals. We have been focusing all year on these three games, this one weekend. And when it came time, we showed up.”

At women’s volleyball nationals in Quebec City, the UBC Thunderbirds crushed the Laval Rouge et Or in straight sets (25-16, 25-18, 25-14) in the gold medal game.

The T-Birds’ fourth consecutive national champion squad featured three local high school grads – third-year setter Brina Derksen-Bergen (Rick Hansen) and rookies Rosie Schlagintweit (Yale) and Jenelle Franz (MEI).

The victory was particularly sweet for Derksen-Bergen, whose third CIS title was also her first as a starter. Her 11.67 assists per set were tops at the national tourney, and she won the R.W. Pugh sportsmanship award.

“As much as you’re always part of the team and you’re always contributing different things, I took more ownership of it this year,” Derksen-Bergen said. “It’s exciting because it’s kind of your own.”

– with files from Gary Ahuja, Langley TimesAbbotsford natives Rosie Schlagintweit, Brina Derksen-Bergen and Jenelle Franz (from left) celebrated a national championship with the UBC Thunderbirds.