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Volleyball: Road to nationals runs through Douglas
Douglas plays host to provincial best
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Fans will get a warm welcome with free admission when Douglas College hosts the PacWest Volleyball Championships on February 23 – February 25. Rival teams can expect a tougher reception.
Competition will be furious on the men’s side with two of the nation’s top-ranked teams – Vancouver Island University (Number 2) and Douglas (Number 4) – among those battling for the title and lone berth into the nationals.
The Mariners and Royals split four memorable matches during the regular campaign and each team has a bye into the semi-final round on Friday. That potentially sets the stage for a winner-take-all final on Saturday to decide season- series bragging rights and the provincial title
“I can understand some people focusing on the rivalry between VIU and Douglas but there’s no guarantee we’ll even meet in these championships,” says Douglas coach Brad Hudson. “I’ve never see a season with better balance throughout our entire league from teams one through seven.”
Columbia Bible College is third in league standings but automatically advances to the men’s nationals (March 8-12) as host team. If CBC wins the provincial title, the provincial runner-up would also advance.
The path to success for the home-court Royals must be through the power game emphasized by Hudson’s coaching staff. Late in the season, Royals’ veteran Jeff Taylor led the conference in cumulative offensive stats with teammate Sam Shaw in fifth spot. Douglas boasts three of the conference’s top five serving aces – Rex Fenton, Kaleb Dawe and Taylor – while teammate Jordon Or is tops in digs.
“Of course what the game comes down to is scoring points and the most efficient way to do that is through aces and kills. In our training we work to enable our athletes to do those things efficiently but we also teach or help them develop a better understanding of the game,” says Hudson.
“Talent is important but sometimes talent can be equal. We believe greater awareness of all aspects of the game can enable them to be successful.”
Picking a winner on the women’s side isn’t easy either. The 2011-12 season featured VIU, Capilano and the University of the Fraser Valley all battling for top spot and placing high in national rankings. And just to open up more possibilities, first-place VIU already holds the host berth for the nationals, opening the door for one more entry from BC.
The Royals women’s squad starts action in the quarterfinals on Thursday, with CBC and Camosun rounding out the qualifying teams.
Douglas College hosts the tournament at the New Westminster Campus – 700 Royal Avenue. Fans are offered free admission or can also follow games on a revamped u-stream channel available on the Douglas College and tournament websites (douglascollege.ca and.PACWESTbc.ca/2012Volleyball).
Games start with quarterfinals on Thursday and semifinals Friday at 1pm, 3pm, 6pm and 8pm. On Saturday, the women’s and men’s bronze games run at 1pm and 3pm followed by the women’s final at 5:30pm and men’s final at 8pm.