Sports

Playoff-bound Mariners hone game

Vancouver Island University Mariners player Dani Smith, middle, sets the ball for teammate Marlie Temple last weekend in Abbotsford against the Fraser Valley Cascades. VIU’s volleyball teams are at home Friday (Feb. 8) and Saturday. - JOHN MORROW/Black Press
Vancouver Island University Mariners player Dani Smith, middle, sets the ball for teammate Marlie Temple last weekend in Abbotsford against the Fraser Valley Cascades. VIU’s volleyball teams are at home Friday (Feb. 8) and Saturday.
— image credit: JOHN MORROW/Black Press

The pressure is off for now, so the VIU Mariners will create their own playoff push.

Vancouver Island University’s women’s volleyball team (17-3) showed it’s right there with the best in the country last weekend as it won one of two matches against the No. 1-ranked Fraser Valley Cascades (18-2) in Abbotsford. The two powerhouse programs have sewed up the top seeds in the Pacific Western Athletic Association, but there are still two more weekends worth of v-ball before provincials.

The Mariners host the Douglas Royals on Friday (Feb. 8) and Saturday at the VIU gym.

The Royals are playing their best volleyball of the season, said M’s coach Shane Hyde, and the matches are a chance for the Mariners to try to improve.

“It’s more about us getting some other looks in, trying some different players at different positions, or maybe working on that Plan B a little bit more,” he said.

Even if VIU loses all its remaining four matches, it will still finish second.

“We’re not going in to lose any matches, that’s not our mentality, but we’re definitely going to work on some things that will get us sharpened up,” Hyde said.

GAME ON … The VIU Mariners v-ball teams play at home Friday (Feb. 8) and Saturday against the Douglas Royals. The women's match is at 6 p.m. on Friday at the VIU gym, then 1 p.m. on Saturday. The men’s matches are at 8 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Saturday … VIU’s Leanna Gildersleeve is the PacWest Athlete of the week after recording 34 digs and 36 kills in two matches against UFV.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

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