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Nothing set for Vancouver Island’s premier volleyball family due to COVID

Groenendijks: Danielle’s fourth straight national title chance blocked, Doug awaits return to Europe
Doug Groenendijk enjoyed a great experience playing volleyball in Europe and hopes to return again when COVID cases subside and the situation is under control. (Photo submitted)

The Groenendijk siblings of Mount Sicker Road have their volleyball seasons and future plans in the sport up in the air like just about everyone else performing in high-level athletics, other than some of the professional leagues.

Based on the Groenendijk’s home base, Chemainus and Westholme have both long claimed a share of the fame associated with the amazing volleyball accomplishments of Duncan Christian School grads Cam, Megan, Doug and Danielle over the years.

Related story: Volleyball a family affair for Westholme’s Groenendijks

Danielle Groenendijk was looking forward to a chance at an almost unprecedented fourth straight Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association championship with the Vancouver Island University Mariners in 2020-21, but that’s not going to happen.

The CCAA already announced in late October it was cancelling the nationals for volleyball in 2021, but the PacWest division of the CCAA had not made a decision about the season in the new year initially before deciding to cancel it as well a couple of weeks ago.

“Although this is very upsetting news, I am not surprised by it and think it is probably the safety,” noted Groenendijk. “As a team, we are still planning on training and continue to develop as a team.”

The Mariners are just completing two weeks off and aren’t sure about returning before Christmas with the number of COVID cases on the rise.

“As for me, I have been able to stay active through running, hiking, biking, home workouts and working on the farm!” Groenendijk indicated. “I have also been able to help coach at Duncan Christian School with COVID measures in place since I have more ‘free’ time without competing on weekends and having most of my schooling online.”

Groenendijk and her teammates just managed to secure a third straight national title in March ahead of the extensive COVID shutdowns that took place around that time.

Related story: Groenendijk and VIU surge to third straight national title in unusual circumstances

Older brother Doug Groenendijk came home in March from playing pro volleyball in Austria, having to leave the season early due to COVID.

Related story: Pro volleyball stint in Austria an amazing experience for Chemainus product

“This summer I was pursuing a contract again in Europe, but COVID made that difficult,” he noted.

To fill the void, he moved to Manitoba for a while to live with brother Cam and his wife Sam for a different season – harvest season.

Groenendijk is still hopeful of finding a contract in Europe to play after Christmas if conditions are right.

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It’s a family affair for the Groenendijks with the Vancouver Island University Mariners volleyball program. From left: Danielle, Doug, dad Chris, mom Henrietta and Megan ensure the family is well-represented at competition in 2019. (Photo submitted)
Danielle Groenendijk behind the scenes at the family farm with dad Chris. (Photo submitted)
The national championships in March already seem like a distant memory for Danielle Groenendijk, ninth from left in the back row, of Westholme and her teammates. (Photo submitted)
Doug Groenendijk, right, with Argentinian teammate Santiago Alvarez while playing volleyball in Austria. (Photo submitted)
Danielle Groenendijk, right, and sister Megan were teammates on the 2019 national championship volleyball squad. (Photo submitted)

Don Bodger

About the Author: Don Bodger

I've been a part of the newspaper industry since 1980 when I began on a part-time basis covering sports for the Ladysmith-Chemainus Chronicle.
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