The VIU Mariners are defending provincial champions and they’ve only gotten deeper.
Vancouver Island University’s women’s volleyball team is off to an undefeated start in the PacWest and getting ready to serve up its home opener on Friday, Nov. 3.
The VIU women and men host the Capilano Blues in Pacific Western Athletic Association action that night at the university gymnasium.
“It’ll be competitive,” said Danielle Groenendijk, Mariners power hitter. “You’ll see us wanting to be there and working hard and [playing] as a team and having fun. I think it’ll be a really good game that fans can get engaged in and it’ll be a live gym.”
So far, the M’s have won two matches against Camosun and two against the Columbia Bible College. A couple of those victories took five sets.
“We’ve seen that we can come back after not having a good couple sets,and doing the adjustments, we can recover,” said Amanda Dobbyn, VIU middle.
Jas Shahi, Mariners assistant coach, said the strong early results have been helpful for the team’s development.
“It’s definitely a confidence boost and it teaches them a lot about what it takes to win and how to win,” Shahi said.
He said the schedule, which has included an early-season bye week, has made it tough to establish flow, but in spite of that, the process is progressing as hoped.
“We’re quite deep in comparison to previous years,” said Shahi. “We can fill in players in different roles and different positions and roll through different lineups.”
Dobbyn said VIU has lot of players who are capable of excelling no matter where they are on the floor, which is an advantage.
“Overall, I think we have a really balanced attack,” she said. “We have strong attacks from the right side, the middle and the left side. We have so many strengths we can use.”
Mikayla Wagner will lead the attack again from the right side, with Andrea Cankovic back at power hitter with Groenendijk and Sadie Wilson. Dobbyn will be joined in the middle by newcomer Kayla Passmore. Kelsey Hutt is back at libero. Veteran setter Chantal Cumming is out for an extended period of time with an injury, so Sarah Wood has stepped into a starting role.
GAME ON … VIU’s women take on Cap on Friday, Nov. 3 at 6 p.m., with a men’s match at 8 p.m. The next day’s rematches are at 1 and 3 p.m.