by ACAC Sports Writer Curtis J. Phillips
Lakeland College Rustlers now have a complete set of Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) women's volleyball medals.
Gold from last year, when they won in Victoria, British Columbia defeating the host Camosun College Chargers.
Silver status from when they played on their own home court against the University of Fraser Valley Cascades in 2013.
And now bronze after Saturday's victory against the Humber Hawks at the 2017-2018 CCAA Women's Volleyball Championships held in Grande Prairie, Alberta and hosted by the Grande Prairie Regional College (GPRC) Wolves.
"I guess we will call it getting the trifecta," quipped Rustlers head coach Austin Dyer, of the 25-15 25-20 25-16 decision against the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association school. "It wasn't the medal we came here looking for but at the end of the day, we were the third best team in the country and that is good for our college and program."
Ahnika Kuse had 10 kills, three service aces and nine digs. Shelby Becker added 14 kills.
Rustlers had opened the tournament Thursday evening with a 20-25, 25-22, 25-17 and 25-17 win against the Mount Saint Vincent University Mystics (Atlantic Colleges Athletic Association) from Halifax, Nova Scotia.
|Lakeland Rustlers Ahnika Kuse (#6), First Team All-Star|
Rustlers' Ahnika Kuse had 17 kills, 14 digs and two blocks. Setter Rae Sigurdson had 36 assists while Alyssa Grondin added four blocks of the team's total 13.
In the semi-finals the Rustlers were swept by the PACWEST Vancouver Island University Mariners 15-25, 15-25, 17-25.
Lakeland made use of all 13 players on the roster while the Mariners went with seven for the distance.
Shelby Becker had seven kills in the loss while Alyssa Grondin managed four blocks.
VIU had 40 kills and 12 blocks compared to the Rustlers with 24 kills and five blocks.
"We were never in the game from the beginning of every set," said a dejected Dyer. "I was making substitutions in trying to slow the game down, mix the lineup, anything I could do to change the momentum and flow of the game. They (VIU) played error free volleyball. They dominated."
To advance to the bronze medal match, the Rustlers defeated Cégep Garneau Élans from Quebec City, in the bronze semifinals 27-25 25-22 25-19.
Kuse came up big against the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec school, with 16 kills and 12 digs.
Host GPRC Wolves managed a seventh place after defeating Cégep André-Laurendeau Boomerang 23-25, 25-22, 21-25, 18-25.
|Megan Koch (#1), GPRC Wolves, Second Team All-Star|
Jaden Cross had 11 kills, seven digs and three blocks while Jynessa Kaulback and Megan Koch added nine kills and two blocks each.
Wolves had opened the tournament Thursday with a loss to the PACWEST Douglas Royals 23-25, 25-22, 21-25 and 18-25.
Koch had 14 kills, 16 digs and two service aces while Leah Friesen added 11 kills and two service aces.
Vania Silva dos Santos de Oliveira led the Royals with an impressive 19 kills
In the bronze quarter finals the Wolves fell to Élans de Garneau 17-15, 25-18, 17-25 and 19-25.
Friesen had 10 kills and four blocks.
GPRC Wolves have won silver medals at the 2013-2014 and 2000-2011 CCAA Women's Volleyball Championships with a bronze in 1991-1992.
Gold medal winners in 2016 and 2012, the Mariners would win the 2017-2018 CCAA Women's Volleyball Championship with a 3-1 decision against the Royals.
Rae Sigurdson was named an 2017-2018 All Canadian while Ahnika Kuse was honoured as a Tournament First Team All Star.
Teammate Shelby Becker and Wolves' Megan Koch were named Second Team All Stars.