PACWEST volleyball opener promises power-packed contest

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PACWEST vball opener promises power-packed contest between Island rivals

(ISN) – The Camosun College Chargers men’s and women’s volleyball teams open the 2014-15 PACWEST season with a fierce Island Rivalry matchup against the VIU Mariners this Friday at the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence (PISE).

While the Island Rivalry has always produced intense and powerful battles, this Friday’s season opener will see both men’s and women’s squads striving to capture the first win of the season. At the forefront this year is Charger Pride, as Camosun plays host to the PACWEST 2014-15 Provincial Volleyball Championships, February 26-28.

“Starting the PACWEST season at home is a great opportunity for our crew to face the challenges of competition in familiar surroundings,” comments Chargers Women’s Volleyball Head Coach Chris Dahl. “We will start the season in Victoria, end the regular season here, and compete for our conference championship on home court as we host the PACWEST Championships at PISE.”

Entering his fifth year at the helm of the Chargers women’s program, Coach Dahl aims to build upon last season’s success, where the team finished the season with the program’s first ever PACWEST medal.

“This weekend’s match-up of Island teams pits last year’s PACWEST Bronze medalists against the CCAA Bronze medalists,” states Coach Dahl. “It’s early in the season, but I guarantee you’re going to see entertaining volleyball. VIU sets the bar for our conference yet our program at Camosun continues to grow, mature and reach new heights. The athletes throughout our roster, from seniors to freshman, now have a wealth of championship experiences and bring those to the arena.”

Key returning players for Camosun include 5th year student-athletes Hilary Graham (Courtenay), Mariah Holmstrom (Campbell River) and Erika Sheen (Lethbridge, AB), with 4th year middle Morgan Marshall (Smithers). Graham is a two-time PACWEST All-Star and CCAA Academic All-Canadian. Marshall has earned two PACWEST Academic Excellence awards and is a two-time CCAA National Scholar Athlete.

The Chargers women welcome 5’9″ leftside Katie Fetting (Lethbridge), 5’11” middle Emily Thorlakson (Vernon) and Victoria products Jasmine Strandlund, a 5’6″ setter from Lambrick Park and 5’11” leftside Megan Beckett from Reynolds.

On the men’s side, Chargers Head Coach Charles Parkinson has assembled a solid crew of experienced vets and skilled recruits to push Camosun into this year’s playoffs. In his eighth year coaching the program, the volleyball maven is looking to repeat winning PACWEST Gold on home court as his Chargers squad did at the PACWEST Provincial Championships hosted by Camosun in 2008-09.

“Our line-up this season will be a mixture of youth and experience,” states Coach Parkinson. “Rookies Doug Waterman and Cole Redden will see a lot of time in the middle, which frees up veteran Alex Sadowski to move to the rightside position. The “Big Sadowski”, a PACWEST 1st team All Star middle player will now stay on the court throughout the match and his attempts and productivity should increase considerably. Former College of the Rockies transfer Tyler Remenda provides stability on the wing for Camosun and is backed up by 5th year Captain Jeremy Finn and 2nd year leftside, and BC Championship All-Star, Cam Fennema. Also joining Camosun this season from Capilano is Victoria native Elion Wong whose athleticism and hand-eye coordination should make him one of the best Libero’s in the league. As the season unfolds he will be pushed by first year Libero Mitchell Jesson from Richmond.”

In Friday night’s men’s match up, the Chargers will face an upgraded Mariners crew that features the addition of former TRU wing spiker Jesse Bazergi, and former Camosun setter Ryan Marcellus who left the team at the end of last season. Ryan’s older brother Garrett, who was a PACWEST All-Star and played five seasons with the Chargers, is now in his second year as an Assistant Coach for the Chargers program. In his five seasons with Camosun, Garrett’s parents never missed a game. When asked who the Marcellus family will cheer for on Friday, Garrett responded, “My parents will probably cheer for Ryan. I will a little too. I want Camosun to win, but I want Ryan to play a great game.”

“While these are the first matches of the season it is important for each team to get off to a quick start,” says Coach Parkinson. “Expect VIU to be more offensive than last season, while the Chargers will be more defensive. All in all it should make for an interesting and intense battle of styles.”

Catch the Chargers in their opening matches of the season this Friday at PISE (4371 Interurban Road. Women 6pm; Men 8pm.