Top-ranked VIU men’s v-ball team prepare to take on challengers

When you're ranked No. 1 in the country, every other team in the nation is gunning for you.

When you’re ranked No. 1 in the country, every other team in the nation is gunning for you.

That’s just how the 11-1 Vancouver Island Mariners men’s volleyball team likes it, says coach Abe Avender.

The Mariners have held the top spot nationally for five weeks and has just one loss – against the Douglas College Royals on Oct. 28.

“We like it this way,” said Avender. “When everybody is looking to beat us, we get up for every game, the guys are into it and focused, and we keep finding new ways to win. It keeps us sharp.”

VIU currently sits on top of the Pacific Western Athletic Association standings as the teams head in to the six-week Christmas break.

Douglas continues to stalk VIU from second place with a 9-3 record, while Vancouver’s Columbia Bible College, last year’s national champs, is in third place at 7-5. CBC hosts the national championships this year.

To prepare for what is expected to be a tough second half to the season, Avender and his squad will be heading to San Diego Dec. 28 to Jan. 3 with five other Canadian teams – including four of the Top 15 ranked teams in Canada – to keep sharp over the break.

“It’s great competition and a great way to burn some turkey off and get guys ready,” said Avender. “I’ve learned that when players go their separate ways over the break, they sort of come back and have lost that cohesion and it takes a while. In San Diego, we live in the same house, eat dinners, all of our meals together, and play against some good competition.”

The Mariner men have another challenge on their hands in San Diego, which is staying focused. There will be five Canadian women’s volleyball teams, including the lady Mariners, who will be sharing the facilities at the San Diego Volleyball Club at the same time.

Avender laughed off the distraction.

“The girls’ budget is a little bigger than ours. They stay in this beautiful mansion on the water, while we stay inland sort of roughing it,” he laughed.

The Mariners will be thrown right into their biggest test the first weekend back – he squad is scheduled to play Douglas.

reporter2@nanaimobulletin.com

Just Posted

Two Nanaimo residents share $5-million lotto prize

Jesse Logan and Teresa Winters Day matched all six numbers in Aug. 21 Lotto 6/49 draw

East Coast comedian Ron James bringing ‘Full Throttle Tour’ to Nanaimo

James is at work on the first draft of his first book, ‘All Over the Map’

Thieves steal computers and two beers during downtown Nanaimo restaurant break-in

Break-and-enter happened Sept. 3 at Zalathai Thai Restaurant on Victoria Crescent

Nanaimo Boat Show full of ideas about how to get out on the water

Show takes place Sept. 19-22 at Waterfront Suites and Marina on Stewart Avenue

Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidates try to chart a path to victory

Conservatives, NDP, Liberals set sights on votes needed to unseat Green incumbent

Nanaimo remembers Terry Fox and runs for his cause

Terry Fox Run was held Sunday at Bowen Park

Island campground on the chopping block as ALC deadline looms

Owners fighting to continue facility’s operation, with a huge outpouring of support

B.C. ends ‘birth alerts’ in child welfare cases

‘Social service workers will no longer share information about expectant parents without consent’

U.S. student, killed in Bamfield bus crash, remembered as ‘kind, intelligent, talented’

John Geerdes, 18, was one of two UVic students killed in the crash on Friday night

Clippers earn five out of six points in BCHL action

Nanaimo splits with Alberni Valley, beats Chilliwack

UVic students killed in Bamfield bus crash were from Winnipeg, Iowa City

Authorities said the two victims were a man and a woman, both aged 18

Safety concerns resurface after fatal bus crash on Vancouver Island

Huu-ay-aht First Nations wants a safe route between Bamfield and Port Alberni

Two dead, two in critical condition in highway crash near Campbell River

Highway 19 reopened Sunday night after it was closed in both directions

Most Read