MVB | Kodiaks historic season ends in silver

MVB | Kodiaks historic season ends in silver

Feb. 25, 2019 – The Lethbridge College men’s volleyball team wrapped up the best season in program history with an ACAC silver medal on Saturday. The Kodiaks earned a spot in the conference championship game against the Keyano Huskies, but lost in three sets to cap off the tournament hosted by NAIT in Edmonton. This marks the first time the Kodiaks have ever earned an ACAC medal.

“I’m so proud of this group of young men, and I’m thankful for the joyful run we had together,” says Greg Gibos, Kodiaks men’s volleyball coach. “They deserved the best experience because simply they are the best people. To everyone who took time to text, tweet and interact with this team - we heard and felt you. The amount of support we’ve received has been the incredibly humbling.”

The Kodiaks earned a spot in the championships by first beating The King’s University Eagles 3-0 (26-24, 25-18, 26-24) in Thursday evening’s conference quarterfinal. The Kodiaks then qualified for the ACAC championship game by holding off the SAIT Trojans 3-2 (25-19, 25-20, 23-25, 24-26, 15-6) in Friday’s semifinal. 

It set up a meeting of the two best teams in the ACAC this season in the championship game as the south division champion Kodiaks and north division champion Huskies both entered the showdown with 22-2 regular season records. The veteran-laden Keyano team had earned ACAC medals in each of the last three seasons, but was still looking for its first gold medal. The first two sets were very tightly contested, with the Huskies winning each by the slightest of margins, 25-23 and 26-24. Keyano would not be denied this season, as it closed the match with a 25-18 third set win to earn the straight-sets victory.

“What an incredible ride for this group of athletes,” says Gibos. “I’m so happy that each one of them has been able to chase after their dreams of playing post-secondary volleyball, and had an amazing run into the conference championship. This group of athletes is resilient, relentless and has become a family. The relationships and friendships from this season will be long standing and we will have memories to last a lifetime.”

The Kodiaks placed three players on the tournament all-star team, including Carter Hansen (fourth year, General Studies, Magrath), Matt Primrose (third year, General Studies, Lethbridge) and Dax Whitehead (fifth year, General Studies, Moose Jaw, Sask.). Whitehead has now completed his ACAC career as the all-time leader in kills in Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) history.

“I’d like to thank Dax for his incredible devotion and love of this program. I know he’s going to accomplish monumental things in his life and it’s an honour to have been his coach,” says Gibos. “To our returning athletes and future Kodiaks - always remember this group. They’ve paved the pathway for future seasons and future success. Thank you to everyone at Lethbridge College for believing in us, and coming along for the ride, it was remarkable.”

The Kodiaks season comes to a close, but head coach Greg Gibos will go forward as the ACAC’s nominee for coach of the year at the CCAA awards banquet, to be held on March 6 in Red Deer.

It was a historic season for the Kodiaks as the team set a new record for wins (22), was ranked in the CCAA top three for the first time ever and earned the first conference medal in program history.