North Okanagan, Lake Country athletes seek university sports titles

Vernon’s Jenna Fletcher (right) and the UBC Thunderbirds begin their quest for a Canadian U-Sports Women’s Hockey championship Thursday, March 24, in Charlottetown. (Rich Lam - UBC Athletics Photo)Vernon’s Jenna Fletcher (right) and the UBC Thunderbirds begin their quest for a Canadian U-Sports Women’s Hockey championship Thursday, March 24, in Charlottetown. (Rich Lam - UBC Athletics Photo)
Vernon libero Landon Currie will look to lead the University of Alberta Golden Bears to a Canada U-Sports men’s volleyball title this weekend in Winnipeg. (File photo)Vernon libero Landon Currie will look to lead the University of Alberta Golden Bears to a Canada U-Sports men’s volleyball title this weekend in Winnipeg. (File photo)
Vernon’s Jenna Fletcher and the UBC Thunderbirds begin their quest for a Canadian U-Sports Women’s Hockey championship Thursday, March 24, in Charlottetown. (Rich Lam - UBC Athletics Photo)Vernon’s Jenna Fletcher and the UBC Thunderbirds begin their quest for a Canadian U-Sports Women’s Hockey championship Thursday, March 24, in Charlottetown. (Rich Lam - UBC Athletics Photo)

A number of North Okanagan and Lake Country athletes will be vying for Canadian University and College championships in their respective sports this weekend and next.

U-SPORTS WOMEN’S HOCKEY

The UBC Thunderbirds, who have five players with connections to the North and Central Okanagan, are seeded third for the championships in Charlottetown.

UBC will play the sixth-ranked Nipissing Lakers of North Bay, Ont. in their quarterfinal matchup Thursday, March 24, at 3 p.m. Pacific.

Vernon’s Jenna Fletcher and Sydney Neustaeter, Chanreet Bassi, Ireland Perrott and Kailee Peppler from Lake Country play for the Canada West champion T-Birds.

Montreal’s Concordia Stingers are ranked No. 1.

U-SPORTS MEN’S HOCKEY

The Alberta Golden Bears men’s hockey team took the No. 1 spot after cruising to their 29th conference title in program history this past weekend.

The Golden Bears (20-4) cruised to a 7-0 victory over the No. 6 UBC Thunderbirds (16-9) to clinch their fourth Canada West banner in five seasons after defeating UBC 4-2 in Game 1.

In the final, freshman Josh Prokop, a former Vernon Vipers sniper, netted two goals and a pair of assists to help lead Alberta to a statement victory over UBC. Former Vipers defenceman Jackson Caller plays for UBC.

The Bears proved their dominance in the Canada West playoffs, going 4-0 and scoring a total of 23 goals while allowing just five throughout the postseason.

The U-Sports’ University Cup will be March 31-April 3 in Nova Scotia.

U-SPORTS MEN’S VOLLEYBALL

For the second time in a row, and the fourth time since 2017, the Trinity Western University Spartans are the top seed heading into the 2022 U SPORTS men’s volleyball championship.

The 2022 national tournament runs from Friday to Sunday at the University of Manitoba’s Investors Group Athletic Centre in Winnipeg.

Rounding out the seeding behind the Canada West champion Spartans are the No. 2 McMaster Marauders (OUA champions), No. 3 Alberta Golden Bears (Canada West Finalists), No. 4 Toronto Varsity Blues (OUA finalists), No. 5 Sherbrooke Vert & Or (RSEQ champions), No. 6 Queen’s Gaels (OUA bronze medallists), No. 7 Calgary Dinos (Canada West bronze medallists) and No. 8 Manitoba Bisons (hosts).

Vernon’s Landon Currie is a veteran libero for the Alberta Golden Bears while former Vernon Christian School Royals standouts Liam Remple and Devin Hofsink are with Trinity Western.

The quarter-final matchups on Friday will feature Calgary vs. McMaster, Queen’s vs. Alberta (1 p.m. Pacific), the hosts Manitoba vs. Trinity Western (4 p.m. Pacific) and Toronto vs. Sherbrooke (8 p.m.).

Trinity Western is the top seed for the second straight national championship, and the fourth time in the past five events. The Spartans were the top seed in 2020 when the tournament was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is the 12th straight national championship tournament for the Spartans, second only among qualifiers to Alberta’s streak of 21.

CANADIAN COLLEGES ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL

Vernon’s Ashley Budgen is a red-shirt freshman (non-playing) with the No. 1 ranked Douglas College Royals from New Westminster, who will look to add a Canadian title to go along with their provincial PACWEST Championship.

The Royals are in Charlottetown for the eight-team national CCAA finals, and will play against the eight-seeded Rouges de le Université de Saint-Boniface from Winnipeg at 4 p.m. Pacific Friday, March 25.

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