The Nanaimo Volleyball Club Mariners are not only bound for provincials, they’re among the favourites.
The NVC’s premier U18 girls’ team won the Island championship on Saturday at the Vancouver Island University gym.
The club’s U17 and U14 teams both had runner-up finishes at Islands.
“We were so excited – it seemed like every division we had a medal winner, which was great,” said Bill Rounis, coach of the U18 Mariners.
His team went into Islands ranked No. 2 behind Comox, but hadn’t had a chance to play that squad recently. When the teams met in the final, NVC prevailed 25-17, 25-23.
Rounis said his players came together and had their best performance at the right time.
“[Comox] didn’t actually make a lot of errors. It was all us digging and us having to transition and kill…” he said. “Some of the rallies that we extended, I haven’t seen that kind of play even with our provincial team. It was amazing, it really was.”
There were no MVPs or all-stars chosen at the tournament, but Jenna Pearce and team captain Carlena Chahley were standouts.
Because of the Mariners’ tournament results during the season, they have been ranked No. 3 going into provincials at the end of the month.
The lofty ranking just adds to the excitement, said the coach.
“You’re right there – you know there’s a chance of doing something special and coming back with a championship and a medal,” he said.
The U17 Mariners were close in their Island final, falling 26-24, 25-20 to the Victoria Titans.
NVC’s top U14 team was defeated by Victoria’s top U14 side.
All three of the aforementioned NVC teams qualify for provincials in Abbotsford. The Nanaimo club will also be entering U15 and U16 teams in Islands this coming weekend at Port Alberni.
COURT SHORTS … The Nanaimo Boys’ Volleyball Club also entered squads in Island championships in Nanaimo this past weekend. The Mariners U14 blue team won the Island title at the VIU gym, while the U18 black team placed second at the John Barsby Secondary School gym. Results from U15 play were not available. U16 boys’ Islands are this Sunday (April 21) in Victoria.