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The Mariners Men’s Volleyball Team were on the hunt for redemption as they hosted the Douglas Royals for two games of action. 

On Friday and Saturday, January 17 and 18, the Mariners Men’s Volleyball Team hosted the Douglas Royals for back-to-back game days. The Mariners came into the weekend games riding a six game win streak; the last time they lost was at Douglas, who took the first two games of the regular season series. The Mariners finished the weekend by splitting the series with Douglas, and pushing their win streak to eight games. 

Their first match started at 8 pm following the Mariners Women’s Volleyball Team win. The first period of the Men’s game was a nail-biter as neither team let the other pull ahead. With a score of 20-18, Douglas called the first timeout of the match, but little would change thereafter. The Mariners would take the first with a score of 25-23.

The Mariners came into the second confident. A quick 6-2 lead for the Mariners forced the Royals to call a timeout, to mitigate the Mariners run. The teams would tie at 9 before the Mariners would go on another run. 

With a score of 16-10, Douglas would call their second timeout of the period. Before Douglas could gain momentum, the Mariners called a timeout with a 16-13 point lead. Eventually, the Mariners would win the second, 25-19.

Despite the 2-0 lead, the Mariners knew the win wasn’t secured. Both teams went back and forth, tying at 5 points to open the third period. With little changing, the Mariners called a timeout with a 7-6 point lead. 

Coming out of the timeout, the Mariners began to pull away, although there was very little breathing room given by Douglas. 

Shortly after VIU took a 16-13 lead, there was a brief pause in the action as Mariners Middle Blocker, Daniel Mascarenhas, suffered a minor nose injury. Luckily he was able to return to the court to help his team secure a 3-0 sweep over the Royals, with a final score of 25-19 in the third. 

Head Coach Abe Avender praised Douglas as a top team and noted that if they can take both games on the weekend, they have a real opportunity to move up in the standings. 

“I think our game plan was really good, and we’ll watch some tape tonight and see if there was anything that changed, or needs to change,” Avender said. “Overall, if you can beat a really high level team, like they were number two ranked in the country, and you beat them 3-0 in your gym, it’s a good night.”

Game two started at 3 pm on Saturday. Like the first game, it was close from the start. Douglas held a 21-18 lead before the Mariners called the first timeout of the match. However, the Mariners weren’t able to regroup quick enough, as they fell 25-21 in the first period. 

The second period was another back and forth game. As the Mariners pulled ahead 18-15, Douglas called their first timeout. Although the Mariners continued to push the lead, they conceded two crucial points when they were only one point away from winning the second. Following an intense rally, the Mariners were able to secure the win in the second period with a score of 25-22.

The Mariners carried their momentum going into the third, quickly taking an 8-4 lead over Douglas, forcing them to call a timeout. The Mariners, however, would not ease up, as they forced a second timeout from Douglas when they extended their lead 15-10.

The Mariners took a convincing third period win over Douglas, 25-17. The Mariners continued to dominate, as they came into the fourth period with a 9-3 lead. Douglas called a timeout, but it wouldn’t change the outcome of the fourth and final period of the match. The Mariners went on to win 3-1 with a fourth period score of 25-14.

“I was expecting [the Royals] to come out with a little more fire in them [today],” Avender said. “Last night, it was just on the gas right away. Tonight, I think we took a little bit for granted. We made some mental mistakes early, but at the end, we kind of got back into what we do.”

The Mariners successfully split the series with Douglas, pushed their win streak to 8 games, and have a regular season record of 12-4 for third rank in PACWEST. They will look to continue their success as they travel to the College of The Rockies this Friday for back-to-back game days on January 24 and 25.

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