Varsity Blues women's volleyball. Courtesy Mackenzie Gerry.

For the first time in program history, the Varsity Blues women’s volleyball team are national champions. The Blues completed a perfect 25–0 season and breezed through the championship match against last year’s champions Trinity Western Spartans 25–1, 25–18, 25–12.

The Blues clinched the conference banner two weeks ago at the Goldring Centre, where they defeated cross-town rivals Ryerson Rams in three sets. The second banner for the Blues in as many seasons, the win would secure the squad’s trip to the CIS championships in Brandon, Manitoba, where they would be the lone competitors to represent the OUA conference.

The Blues started their championship sweep by defeating the McGill Martlets in the quarterfinals. In a game that went to five sets, the Blues came from behind to win the match and reserve their spot in the semifinal against one of the tallest teams in the league, UBC Okanagan Heat.

In the semifinal, it looked like the Blues had met their match with the Heat, who took the first set from the Blues 21–25. A dominant match high of 20 kills from the Heat’s all-star Katie Wuttunee would frustrate the Blues, as they struggled to return devastating hits from the 6’3” middle. Despite dropping the first set, fifth-year veteran Caleigh Cruickshank saved the Blues and notched 18 kills and 22 points during the four set thriller. The Blues would advance to their first ever CIS final on a service error by the Heat.

In a relatively anti-climatic match, the Blues overcame the Spartans to win the final.

A kill by Cruickshank clinched the first set for the Blues, after which the women kept rolling with kill after kill from Cruickshank and rookie right-side hitter Alina Dormann. After the first set, the Blues took hold of the competition, not dropping the lead once throughout the final two sets, and won their first national title on a service ace by Dormann.

Dormann lead the squad in the final with a dominant 10 kills to cap off her first university season with the Blues, while Cruickshank was named tournament MVP, notching 47 points and 40 kills throughout her last CIS tournament.

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