VIU Mariners player Shelby Dorman-Banks goes for a kill as teammate Amanda Dobbyn watches the outcome during Saturday’s CCAA gold-medal match against the Élans de Garneau in Quebec. (Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association photo)

VIU Mariners player Shelby Dorman-Banks goes for a kill as teammate Amanda Dobbyn watches the outcome during Saturday’s CCAA gold-medal match against the Élans de Garneau in Quebec. (Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association photo)

VIU Mariners women win third straight national title

Volleyball team goes undefeated at CCAA championships in Quebec

Vancouver Island University’s women’s volleyball team finished a perfect season with a perfect ending – well, as perfect as it could be amidst a virus pandemic.

The VIU Mariners won the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association championship for a third-straight year, completing an undefeated season with gold medals all around.

The Mariners defeated the Élans de Garneau in Saturday’s final in Quebec, 22-25, 25-19, 25-15, 25-17, in front of an intimate family-members-only crowd. The final two games of the tournament were played in front of a gymnasium mostly emptied due to COVID-19 precautions.

“It truly was an eerie, weird feeling while we were there. The world was turned upside down,” said Shane Hyde, Mariners coach. “Once we got to the gym, it was our couple hours of escaping the real world. That’s kind of the way we viewed it. We took it as a privilege for us to be able to continue playing volleyball.”

READ ALSO: National basketball championships at VIU cancelled

The first day of the tourney, other sports were starting to get cancelled, and the team heard word that Mariners basketball teams weren’t going to get to play their national championships. Hyde said the M’s felt terrible for their fellow student-athletes, and couldn’t rest or relax at their hotel room without their phones buzzing about coronavirus and its impacts.

On the second day of competition, CCAA officials met to decide whether to proceed with the tournament. The Mariners, with that in mind, chose to forego a typical game-day practice and play a scrimmage, just in case it was their last volleyball of the season.

However, the matches went on, the M’s won their semifinal that night in an empty gym, and then won the next night’s final in front of a not-quite-so-empty gym as Garneau bent the family-members-only rule a little bit.

“We were getting pushed pretty hard by Garneau, the host team, and we battled and took our game to another level, made a few alterations to our lineup … I couldn’t ask for a better performance from our team,” Hyde said.

He credited Cégep de Garneau for how it handled the changes to the tournament and difficult decisions under tough circumstances. He said since the teams were already in Quebec and couldn’t really leave early, it was the right decision to carry on with the event.

“I guess time will tell to see if it was,” Hyde said. “But everybody did everything they could to keep it as safe as possible.”

Karoline Tormena, who made the championship-winning kill down the left side, finished with 13 kills and 13 digs in the final and was chosen tournament MVP. Jane Nyukhalova had 20 kills, Keira Christensen had 14 digs and Shelby Dorman-Banks had 43 assists.

On Friday, VIU won its national semifinal match, defeating the Fanshawe Falcons 25-17, 19-25, 25-14, 25-22. Danielle Groenendijk had 15 kills, Andrea Cankovic had 14, Tormena had 18 digs and Dorman-Banks dished 41 assists.

The tournament opener saw VIU handle the Lynx d’Edourd Montpetit in straight sets, 25-15, 25-18, 25-18. Tormena and Groenendijk had 10 kills each and Cankovic had four aces.

Amanda Dobbyn, Dorman-Banks and Cankovic were selected as first-team all-stars.

The three CCAA titles in a row make it four in five years for the VIU Mariners dynasty, but national championships are never a foregone conclusion. Even in a perfect 29-0 season there was adversity – ferry cancellations, snow cancellations, a bus breakdown, and then novel coronavirus.

“[I’m] super proud of these girls. What they’ve went through in terms of real world problems that they’re dealing with as a group and then playing through it and playing through this whole year, this stuff doesn’t just happen,” Hyde said. “We’ve been making it look easy, but it’s not easy by any means.”

READ ALSO: VIU Mariners add provincial championship to undefeated season

RELATED: Captain says nothing beats VIU volleyball program

RELATED: VIU Mariners women closing in on an unbeaten season



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Volleyball

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Seventy-four international students are expected to come to Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district for the last half of the 2020021 school year, says the district. (School District 68 image)
Nanaimo school district educating 160 international students during pandemic school year

Fifty-seven students from abroad arrived Jan. 14-18, says SD68

Rendering of two residential buildings proposed for the corner of Haliburton and Milton streets. (Matthew T. Hansen Architect image)
Two five-storey residential buildings approved for Haliburton Street

City council issues development permit for 79-unit complex at Haliburton and Milton

Ty Wesley, Nicole Darlington and Cameron Macaulay (from left) performed in the Beholder Entertainment production <em>Gender Sucks!</em> in the 2020 Nanaimo Fringe Festival. (Video still courtesy Sam Wharram)
Nanaimo Fringe Festival artist lottery open to local and B.C. playwrights

Organizers hope to stage plays in-person at indoor and outdoor venues this summer

Nanaimo RCMP investigated after a threat was made at Woodgrove Centre on Tuesday, Jan. 19. (News Bulletin file photo)
Threat directed at Woodgrove Centre, Nanaimo RCMP investigating

Officers have searched areas of the mall accessible to shoppers and have deemed it safe

(News Bulletin file photo)
Car crashes along the Nanaimo Parkway, driver abandons vehicle

Mazda with ‘extensive damage’ found in the ditch in the early-morning hours Jan. 19

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson is humbled to her knees as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Ucluelet paddle boarder surrounded by pod of orcas

“My whole body is still shaking. I don’t even know what to do with this energy.”

Inmates at Metchosin’s William Head Institution are being given COVID-19 vaccines as part of the first phase. Around 600 inmates will be vaccinated in the coming days. (Black Press Media file photo)
William Head prison inmates in receive first doses of COVID vaccine

Priority set for older inmates and those with underlying medical conditions

Vancouver Island University. (File photo)
Province announces funding for VIU to train mental health workers

Provincial government says pandemic has intensified need for mental health supports

A mattress on fire gutted the second floor hallway at Town Park Apartments C-block Jan. 17. (Port Hardy Fire Rescue images)
‘Suspicious’ Port Hardy apartment fire could keep tenants out of their homes for months

A burning mattress created smoke and heat, causing several tenants to jump from windows

A Courtenay resident labours to remove the snow build-up from around her car in February 2019. The area may see snow throughout the coming weekend. Black Press file photo
Snow, winter might not be done with Vancouver Island quite yet

Flurries, snow and cold temps predicted for the weekend for mid-Island

The City of Nanaimo’s Community Services Building at 285 Prideaux St., where the 7-10 Club is located, will host a warming centre seven days a week through March 31. (City of Nanaimo photo)
Warming centres for people experiencing homelessness open today in Nanaimo

City of Nanaimo and social agencies partnering on Wallace and Prideaux locations

Egg producers in B.C. aren’t obligated to reveal their production sites. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Officials say there’s not enough Vancouver Island eggs to meet demand

BC Egg Marketing Board doesn’t regulate labelling, supply needed from off-Island

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

Most Read