VIU volleyball raises banner, raises its game

NANAIMO – VIU's women's volleyball team won its home opener Friday at the VIU gym, defeating the Capilano Blues in straight sets.

VIU Mariners power hitter Leanna Gildersleeve gets a kill past the block of the Capilano Blues during Friday's PacWest home opener at the Vancouver Island University gym.

VIU Mariners power hitter Leanna Gildersleeve gets a kill past the block of the Capilano Blues during Friday's PacWest home opener at the Vancouver Island University gym.

Some fond memories helped invigorate the VIU Mariners on the volleyball court.

Vancouver Island University’s women’s volleyball team won its home opener on Friday night at the VIU gym, defeating the Capilano Blues in straight sets following a pre-game banner-raising ceremony.

The defending Canadian Colleges’ Athletic Association champions took one more look back at last season, then Mariners coach Shane Hyde sent out a carefully thought-out starting lineup.

“I purposely put our entire team that had played last year on the court,” he said. “I think they deserved that.”

The gesture meant a lot, said Sandra Veikle, VIU libero, and she said the banner-raising was emotional.

“It just brought so many memories of so much success and hard work, and how hard work can pay off,” she said.

It also set a tone for the match that followed.

“I thought the Capilano team didn’t really put much of a fight back to us tonight,” Hyde said. “They’re a young team walking into this gym, with that kind of a presentation to start the match off is a little intimidating. But we also dictated the match from the start.”

VIU won by scores of 25-19, 25-12, 25-13, seeming to play more crisply as the match went on.

“By the second set I thought we were jelling and things were flowing and everyone was feeling it,” Veikle said.

The next day the Mariners also won in straight sets but with closer scores of 25-23, 25-22, 25-22. Leanna Gildersleeve led her team in that match with 11 kills.

The M’s men swept the Blues on the weekend, too, winning in five games on Friday, 21-25, 25-23, 19-25, 25-20, 15-9 and then in straight sets Saturday, 25-8, 25-18, 25-20. Tory Zaytsoff was VIU’s go-to guy on offence both days, with 20 kills in Friday’s win and 19 kills in Saturday’s rematch.

GAME ON … The Mariners volleyball teams play at their home gym again this coming weekend with matches against the Fraser Valley Cascades on Friday (Nov. 16) and Saturday. On Friday the women play at 6 p.m. followed by the men at 8 p.m. and on Saturday the ladies go at 1 p.m. and the guys at 3 p.m.

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