VIU Mariners player Jeff Webb, front, goes for a kill during a match against the Camosun Chargers on Friday at the Vancouver Island University gym. GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin

VIU Mariners player Jeff Webb, front, goes for a kill during a match against the Camosun Chargers on Friday at the Vancouver Island University gym. GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin

VIU volleyball teams bound for provincials

Vancouver Island University Mariners men and women in contention at PacWest championships

B.C.’s best college volleyball teams are all at their best at this time of year, so VIU will be in for a battle at provincials.

Vancouver Island University’s men’s and women’s v-ball teams are heading to Cranbrook this week for the Pacific Western Athletic Association championships starting Thursday, Feb. 21.

The women (23-1) go in as the No. 1 seed, while the men (16-8) are the No. 4 seed in their brackets.

The Mariners men go to provincials with the knowledge that they can play with any other team – VIU knocked off the defending-champion Camosun Chargers in five sets in the second-to-last match of the season this past weekend in Nanaimo. Scores were 26-24, 29-27, 22-25, 16-25, 15-10. Camosun won the next day’s rematch 25-22, 25-23, 25-23.

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M’s coach Abe Avender pointed out how fast things happen at provincials – after so many PacWest matches throughout the fall and winter, there’s only one weekend remaining.

“It’s crazy, you play 24 matches for a weekend tournament to go to nationals,” Avender said. “So you’ve got to play well.”

Mariners fifth-year Vedran Obradovich said provincials will be tough both with the road trip aspect and, of course, the matches.

“That Cranbrook trip is a very difficult one. Personally, I like playing there, and I think the guys like playing there, once we get accustomed to everything there,” he said.

VIU will have to take on the host College of the Rockies Avalanche in the quarterfinals. Obradovich said he thinks his team can win that one and thinks any semifinal and finals matches will be close, as the top four seeds are “really tight.”

Avender feels like his team is playing well enough to be able to achieve its goals and said the Mariners also know, after a mid-season exhibition tournament in which they beat two of the top three seeds nationally, that they can play with the best in Canadian college volleyball.

“It’s so strong at the top this year [in B.C.]. The top four teams, you can flip a coin some nights. It’s who shows up,” he said. “So if you can get yourself through the PacWest, you might be rolling into something cool.”

The Mariners women lost their last match of the season against the Camosun Chargers, and therefore weren’t able to complete a perfect regular season. Camosun won 18-25, 25-21, 25-14, 25-21. VIU had won the previous day in four sets, 25-14, 23-25, 25-14, 25-17.

GAME ON … The Mariners men face the Avs on Thursday, Feb. 21. The M’s women have a bye into the semifinals where they will face either the Fraser Valley Cascades or the Capilano Blues.



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

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