March 4, 2019 - 3:30pm
The VIU Mariner Men’s and Women’s Volleyball teams will compete for gold at the CCAA nationals.
The VIU Mariner Men’s’ and Women’s Volleyball teams will compete for gold in the CCAA nationals.
The VIU Men’s Volleyball team ended the season on a high note by scoring gold at the PACWEST championship. The team hasn’t won gold at provincials since 2007.
“We’ve had a lot of up and downs this season, but we were able to pull through when it counted most,” says Vedran Obradovich, VIU Mariner Men’s Volleyball player from Croatia. “We still haven’t reached our peak, two more wins gives us a medal, and three will give us the gold this program has yet to achieve.”
The Mariners defeated number one ranked Douglas College Royals to earn a spot in the finals against their long-time rivals and four-time defending champion Camosun College Chargers. In the previous three years, VIU has placed third once and second place twice.
“You can feel there is a different vibe when we are on the court with Camosun,” says Andre DeLacerda-Pires, VIU Mariner from Brazil. “For the last two years, Camosun has defeated us at PACWEST, so to come out successful was really exciting.”
It’s the first time in his nine years as Head Coach that Dr. Abe Avender has brought home gold from the provincial games.
“It was an emotional game for Abe to be able to accomplish gold,” says Chris Densmore, VIU Mariners Men’s Volleyball Assistant Coach. “I know we both really want to see our boys bring home another gold at Nationals.”
The Mariners Men’s Volleyball team is the only team at VIU yet to win a National championship. They hope this year to change that.
“We are an experienced team. For some guys here, this will be their last time playing for us, and I know how badly they want to end with a bang,” says Densmore.
The team will be travelling to Red Deer College for the CCAA nationals where they will play the Humber Hawks on March 7that 8pm MST in the quarter finals.
The VIU Mariners Women’s Volleyball team is no stranger to the podium at nationals. In the last three years, they have earned two golds and one bronze medal.
“We have medaled every year at provincials and during the 18 years I have been coach, we have only not made nationals twice,” says Shane Hyde, Head Coach for the VIU Women’s Volleyball team. “It’s pretty amazing that this volleyball program has been dominant for so many years.”
Hyde attributes the consistency in coaching staff, the support from university and the extensive recruitment process as key factors to creating a long-standing victory.
“We do preach a lot about class in our organization. If you see these girls outside of the court you would agree these are outstanding people in our community,” says Hyde. “It is all about class and professionalism in our program.”
This season is among the top for achievements. The Mariners ended the regular season with an impressive 23-1 victory. After a clean sweep of the Douglas Royals at the PACWEST championships, the VIU Mariners claimed their 17th gold medal.
“I feel we have a really good chance this year going for that repeat at nationals,” says Chantal Cumming, VIU Women’s Volleyball player.
On March 7at 6pm EST, the VIU Women’s Volleyball face the Niagara Knights in the Quarter Finals at Niagara College in Ontario.
Rae-Anne Guenther, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University