OTTAWA (CIS) – There are a number of changes at the top in this week's CIS national rankings as the Trinity Western Spartans, in women's volleyball, Alberta Golden Bears, in men's volleyball, and UNB Varsity Reds, in men's hockey, all move up one spot to reach No. 1 status.
In other CIS sports, St. Francis Xavier (women's rugby), Ottawa (women's soccer), York (men's soccer), Calgary (women's hockey) and Guelph (women's & men's cross country) all hold on to the pole position.
In women's volleyball, the Spartans went a perfect 4-0 last weekend at the West Coast Classic pre-season tournament, including a four-set win over the reigning five-time CIS champion UBC Thunderbirds, who fall to No. 2 in this week's coaches' poll. The top two teams in the country meet again this weekend as they kick off conference play with a two-game head-to-head series, at UBC on Friday and at Trinity Western on Saturday.
In men's volleyball, the Golden Bears kept a 2-1 record in pre-season action at the Dino Cup in Calgary, including a four-set victory against defending two-time national champion Trinity Western, which drops to second place in the new Top 10. Alberta opens Canada West play at home this weekend with a Friday-Saturday doubleheader versus No. 7 Saskatchewan.
In men's hockey, the Varsity Reds (3-1-0) climb back to the top thanks to a pair of road wins against Saint Mary's, 4-0, and fifth-ranked StFX, 4-2, combined to back-to-back losses by former No. 1 Alberta at Saskatchewan, 2-1 and 4-3. The Huskies (5-1-0) move up two spots to No. 2 following the two-game sweep over their archrivals from Edmonton, while the Bears (3-3-0) fall to No. 4.
In women's rugby, top-ranked StFX (8-0) closed out the regular season with a 64-0 win over Acadia to finish league play with a mind-boggling 657-3 overall point differential. The X-Women host the AUS championship this weekend in Antigonish, N.S., and will then host the CIS championship from Nov. 1-4. In addition to StFX, three teams have already qualified for the CIS national tournament, including No. 3 Alberta, which claimed the Canada West title last weekend, as well as No. 2 Guelph and No. 4 Queen's, who will face off in the OUA final on Saturday.
In women's soccer, top-ranked Ottawa battled No. 7 Queen's to a 0-0 draw last Friday to finish the regular season with an undefeated 14-0-2 record and a remarkable 54-1 overall goal differential. The Gee-Gees open the playoffs at home on Sunday with an OUA East semifinal against an opponent still to be determined.
In men's soccer, No. 1 York tied fourth-ranked McMaster 1-1 and beat Waterloo, 7-0, and Laurier, 2-0, to end conference play with a superb 14-0-2 mark. The Lions kick off the post-season on home turf on Sunday with an OUA West semifinal versus a rival still to be determined.
In women's hockey, reigning CIS champion Calgary (5-0-1) holds on to the No. 1 position despite a surprising 4-3 overtime loss on home ice to Regina (3-3-0), on Saturday. Regina goaltender Jennifer Schmidt stole the show in the upset win as the Cougars were outshot 47-20. The Dinos still racked up four out of a possible six points over the weekend as they had won the two-game set opener 3-0 on Friday.
In cross-country running, Guelph leads both the women's and men's rankings for the fifth straight week. The Gryphons have captured the last seven national team banners in women's competition and have won six consecutive men's championships, both CIS record streaks.