Above: The Mariners front line jumps up to make a block.
Courtesy of North eld Photography
By Sports and Lifestyle Editor Cole Schisler
Despite taking silver in the championship match against the Camosun Chargers, the Mariners secured their wildcard spot by beating the Douglas Royals in an exciting three-set match.
In their match against the Royals, the Mariners were charged up; fresh from their first-round bye, the Mariners had something to prove. The two teams battled in the first set, the teams traded points back and forth to tack the tally up to 31-29. The Mariners finished the match by taking the remaining sets 25-19.
“It seems like we’re peaking at the right time and it’s all coming together,” Mariners’ power hitter and PACWEST All-Star Zach Grigg said after the match. “Now that we just booked our ticket to nationals, the monkey’s off our back. We’ve got a really good group, and the guys are executing well.”
The Camosun Chargers defeated the Mariners 3-1 in the gold medal match. The Mariners took the first set 25-17, the Chargers won the next three sets 26-24, 28-26, 25-16. The Mariners shined in the first set, then the Mariners blew their lead by missing serves, and making hitting errors, which the Chargers capitalized on to win. Head Coach Abe Avender said that the Mariners made 30 errors in the last two sets, but he believes that the team is ready to compete.
“The good news for us is that the big pressure match was the semi final,” Coach Avender said. “There was still a ton of excitement this week in training; the thing with nationals is that you don’t need to motivate teams going to nationals. The guys have been ready to go all week.”
The Mariners will face the Mohawk College Mountaineers in the first round. The Mariners are ranked sixth in the tournament, and the Mountaineers are ranked third. After watching game film from the Mountaineers, Coach Avender found many similarities between the Mountaineers, and the Mariners.
“They have a really good outside attack, they use the back row a little bit, like us,” he said. “Their middle and right side have moments in games, but on their left side is their big finish guys too.”
While the Mariners are focused, and looking forward to nationals, Coach Avender wants to thank all of the fans who came to watch the Mariners over the season and showed their support, especially at the provincial championship.
The CCAA National Championships are March 9-11 at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario. To follow the Mariners as they battle it out at nationals, visit ccaa.ca, gomariners.ca, or follow the Mariners on twitter at twitter.com/VIUMariners, and twitter.com/CCAAsportsACSC.
Cole is a second-year Bachelor of Arts student majoring in creative writing, minoring in political science. He has an interest in all things exciting, mundane, or otherwise. He hopes to one day become an author, actor, comedian, editor, and rapper, while moonlighting as an astronaut.