Although they weren’t crowned, the Douglas College Royals wrapped up another season with a heralded run.
It just didn’t reach the finish line they had aimed for.
The New West-based squad ended up outside the medal circle at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association championships in Welland, Ont., but put forth an effort to be proud of.
Fresh off of finishing second at the PacWest provincials, Douglas demonstrated early that they were game for a repeat of last year’s final.
They grounded the Fanshawe Falcons in the opener 3-0 (27-25, 25-22, 25-12), building momentum as the game went along. It came down to a strong finishing game for the Royals, who out-killed Fanshawe 38-22, converting .318 of their attacks.
Vania Oliviera racked up 18 kills and five digs, while Player of the Match Jane Kepler collected 22 assists. Hammering home nine kills and six digs was Caet McCorkell, while first-year libero Trisha He picked up 11 digs.
In the quarterfinal, Alberta’s King’s University Eagles brought the Royals back to earth with a 3-1 (25-18, 21-25, 25-17, 25-18) decision.
Tied 1-1, the Eagles grabbed the momentum and held off Douglas’ rallies to advance to the national final, where they would lose to defending champion Vancouver Island.
Oliviera was named the Royals’ Player of the Match with 20 kills and eight digs, while McCorkell collected eight kills and 12 digs, and Kepler tallied a 36 assists.
Knocked off course and disappointed at not having a chance to battle Vancouver Island, Douglas stalled briefly in the bronze medal qualifying game against the Briercrest Clippers. They fell behind 2-0 but regained their composure to take the third set 25-22, then traded shots with the Saskatchewan rival before losing 26-24, to fall 3-1.
Oliveira, a third-year outside hitter originally from Brazil, capped a strong tournament with 13 more kills and 14 digs, while first-year Grace Warkentin also hit the double-double with 10 kills and 10 digs.
He would post 17 digs, to average 14.6 over the three games.
Oliveira was named to the CCAA first all-star team, while He was selected to the second squad.