VIU Mariners player Megan Rosenlund hits the volleyball at practice Tuesday afternoon at the Vancouver Island University gym.

Defending volleyball champions reset

VIU’s volleyball teams begin the 2016-17 PacWest campaign this weekend with home matches against the College of the Rockies Avalanche.

The VIU Mariners can allow themselves a few minutes this Saturday (Oct. 15) to bask in the memories as they raise their banner from a national championship season.

But then it’s on to the here and now and the start of a new season.

Vancouver Island University’s volleyball teams begin the 2016-17 PacWest campaign this weekend with home matches against the College of the Rockies Avalanche.

Megan Rosenlund, the team’s new captain, said the Mariners can “kind of” carry some things over from last winter.

“But I would say we’re more focused on building a new year, because every year is different,” she said. “There’s good energy [going] in from last year, but we’re focusing on what’s coming up ahead.”

It’s hard to win a Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association championship and harder still to repeat, and after Saturday’s banner-raising ceremony, there won’t be any more championship talk for a long while.

“There’s tons and tons of room to improve and I’m not that concerned, because the season’s so long and I’m looking at the final product,” said Shane Hyde, Mariners coach. “But I do think that we’re coming out of the gates this year a lot stronger than we have the last two years in terms of what our skill is like on the floor.”

The Mariners graduated two starters, including All-Canadian Tylar Turnbull, who has stayed with the program as an assistant coach. Basically all the returning players are looking better than ever, Hyde said, and others who were role players have positioned themselves to earn more time on the court.

“We’re going to use a more balanced team this year. I kind of feel like we’re going to rotate people quite a bit more,” said the coach. “Last year we had basically a Plan A and a Plan B. This year, I think we’d be able to go down to Plan D if we had to.”

The core of the team includes power hitters Rosenlund and Andrea Cankovic and rightside Mikayla Wagner. Also back is setter Chantal Cumming, who will split time at the position with Shelby Dorman-Banks. Newcomer Natalie Crews and returnee Cattie Hegglin are two of a few players who will line up in the middle. Taking over as starting libero is Kelsey Hutt.

The coaching staff is continuing to learn about players and how they fit together on the court, and will balance that with trying to win matches.

“We’re trying to see what works best in terms of chemistry for the team,” Hyde said. “We’re trying to teach the individual stuff and squeeze out what they have individually for the team, but then it’s a matter of going with things that make sense.”

GAME ON … The Mariners and Rockies play Saturday at 6 p.m. at the VIU gym. A men’s match between the two programs will follow at 8 p.m. There are rematches Sunday, with the women playing at 11 a.m. followed by the men at 1 p.m. Admission to all home games for Mariners court teams is $6 for adults, $4 for seniors and alumni, $2 for youths and free for VIU students.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

Just Posted

Province willing to talk with Lantzville about traffic management for Island Highway

Lantzville councillor plans to ask ministry to install traffic time signs on Highway 19

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Lack of coverage of Liberals was ‘chauvinism’

There’s a responsibility to report a balanced gender approach to this campaign, says letter writer

Winter preparation underway for mid-Island highways

Drivers reminded to ready vehicles for changing conditions

Bear sightings up significantly in Parksville Qualicum Beach area

Fruit trees number one food attractant, says conservation officer

V.I. Raiders win, wait to find out playoff foe

Raiders defeat Valley Huskers 13-6 in BCFC regular-season finale

Alcohol a possible factor in crash that killed 17-year-old girl near Williams Lake

A pickup truck left the road and rolled over on Highway 20 on the weekend

Rare bird spotted in Victoria draws enthusiasts from across the continent

It’s the first time a yellow-browed warbler has been reported on the mainland of North America

B.C. woman must pay $1,000 after unleashed dog bites another

Owner should never have left Bibi unattended, tribunal member wrote

Climate activist Greta Thunberg’s mural defaced in Edmonton

The eyes on the portrait were blacked out

App designed to help cut waste and grocery bills

Food security advocates say addressing poverty is ultimate key

Report suggests new BC Ferries terminal near YVR

Metro Vancouver currently has two ferry terminals at northern and southern reaches

B.C. scouting group’s tent destroyed by black bear on Thanksgiving

The Richmond-based Sea Dragon Sea Scouts were camping at Mount Seymour Provincial Park

Environment Canada issues gale warnings for western Vancouver Island

Gale warnings in effect for most of Vancouver Island and west coast Mainland

Most Read