VICTORIA – The University of Victoria Vikes will bring their 10-player roster into Langley, B.C., Friday and Saturday night for their first taste of conference play against the Trinity Western Spartans.
Led by fourth-year guard Debbie Yeboah, the Vikes will face a Trinity Western squad that has deep improvements with SFU transfer Laurelle Weigl – who joins her sister Laurissa on the squad. Camosun College tranfer Chelsea McMullen and rookies Shaylyn Crisp, Jenny Lewis, and Jordyn Newman make their Canada West regular season debuts with the Vikes.
The tipoff on Nov. 4 is at 6 p.m. and on Nov. 5 it’s an hour earlier at 5 p.m.
“Its really important for us to get off to a good start because in our first three weekends we play Trinity Western and Thompson Rivers and those four games will be a huge determinant of our playoff playoff picture, our playoff status,” said Vikes head coach Rich Chambers. “We have to play well because Trinity Western is much improved with two or three quality players. And they played well in the preseeason and played a lot with 10 games.”
“They are a veteran group, too,” Chamber said of the Spartans which boast a roster with three fourth-year and two fifth-year players. “And they’ve been playing like they have leadership playing – they look very confident.”
Also on the roster is former Vike and Dover Bay graduate Tiffany Olsen. Her younger sister Chelsey is also on the squad and was 4-fo- 5 from three-point range in a non-confernece game last weekend against the Western Mustangs.
Chambers said the Spartans can be dangerous both from the perimeter and from inside the paint.
“Laurelle (Weigl) creates open looks for others on court,” Chambers said. “And they have great size, three girs are 6-3, 6-4, and we have Sarah Semeniuk to match up with them and Natalie Janssens. Our next biggest player is Chelsea McMullen who’s 5-foot-11… If they come down and pound the ball inside we’re in serious trouble.”
“We need to play smart, not get into foul trouble and try to get into transition,” Chambers added. “We’re good in transition and they are not be that good in defensive transition.”
Another Trinity Western player to watch is Portland State transfer guard and junior Sarah Cleveland who Chambers said has “unbelievably long range” from outside the perimeter.
The Vikes put up a record of 2-2 in pre-season play with wins over Concordia and Lakehead.
“Our attitude and work effort has been spectacular,” Chambers said. “The players have bought in and are doing their bit, we’ll have some peaks and valleys, but their work ethic and coachability, I dont think that will change and that’s why we”ll get better. We’ll be a much better team in the second half of the season.”