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

Stz’uminus motivational speaker and musician named ‘emerging cultural leader’ in Nanaimo

Patrick Aleck is among the recipients of the city’s Culture and Heritage Awards

Plan in place for B.C. Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

Vancouver Island’s current COVID-19 case count officially hits zero

Of the 130 recorded Island Health cases, five people have died, 125 recovered

RDN will look at collecting old bins once automated waste collection starts in the fall

Residents outside Nanaimo city limits to see new waste pickup model in October

Lithium-ion battery fire damages suite in Nanaimo

One man displaced from home after battery for radio-controlled toy bursts into flame while charging

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

Beefs & Bouquets, June 3

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Alert Bay resident carves tribute to his community kicking COVID-19’s butt

‘Our little village crushed the curve with love and commitment’

End of an Era: Tofino hair studio closes shop

“We were getting excited to start ramping up and then all of sudden we had to close our doors.”

Kelowna Mountie on desk duty following ‘aggressive’ arrest

The officer involved in an arrest that took place on May 30 in Kelowna has been placed on administrative duties

Protests shift to memorializing George Floyd amid push for change

‘There is something better on the other side of this,’ says Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottom

Most Read