Chargers serve up big weekend against Royals



(ISN) – It was another big weekend for Victoria volleyball fans as the Camosun Chargers served up two days of hard-hitting action against the Douglas Royals at PISE. While the women swept their two-match series, the men collected a split ending the weekend with a colossal four-set win against the Nation’s #1 team.

The women’s double defeat over Douglas marked Camosun’s sixth consecutive straight set win (Fri: 25-22, 25-21, 25-21 and Sat: 25-13, 25-22, 25-23). At 16-2, the Chargers lay claim to the conference’s top spot and a #3 national ranking.

Over the weekend, fifth-year vet and two-time PACWEST All-Star Hilary Graham made a strong showing from the service line delivering three aces on Friday and five on Saturday, in addition to 14 kills and 17 digs.

“Douglas’ movements and patterning on the floor reflect that of a team that is moving in the right direction,” states Chargers Women’s Volleyball Head Coach Chris Dahl. “They’re an example of another quality PACWEST program and Hilary’s ability to put them under duress over the weekend from the service line and at the net was impressive. Hilary’s serve is something we watch with great anticipation. When you watch her serve, it’s clear that this aspect of the game isn’t merely a means to initiating the play… it’s an opportunity to score points. It’s an exciting part of the game and Hilary is an exciting player.”

In men’s action, both matches went to four with Douglas taking Friday’s contest (25-22, 22-25, 25-22, 28-26) and Camosun collecting Saturday’s win with the support of a raucous crowd (25-23, 25-19, 22-25, 26-24). At 12-6, the Chargers maintain 3rd place in the PACWEST standings and a #13 national ranking.

“This weekend saw back-to-back challenging matches with Douglas,” states Chargers Men’s Volleyball Head Coach Charles Parkinson. “On Friday, they showed us why they are the #1 ranked team in the country by playing their best volleyball at the end of each set. We were in control in the early stages of the games but were not able to maintain our point separation and allowed Douglas to creep back to tie and then steal the match 3-1. With a bit more resolve and finish I think the outcome would have been a different story so we went to work on the video and noticed a few things in serve receive, defense and especially serving that we passed along as part of our Saturday game plan. I was really pleased with our execution as we put pressure on all their passers, which eventually had an impact on their offense. Defensively we were right on form as we brought up 74 balls over the four sets, creating a lot of opportunities to score in transition. Our hitters were a bit smarter as well and this allowed us to maintain our leads and close out sets.”

Second-year outside hitters Cam Fennema (Pacific Christian) and Rian Plante (Highland, Comox) were the high men for Camosun over the weekend. Fennema landed a two-day total of 43 points (39 kills, 3 blocks, 1 ace) and 25 digs while Plante put away 36 points (29 kills, 5 blocks, 2 aces) while racking up 16 digs.

“Cam Fennema was once again an offensive machine on the left side and he was helped considerably by right side Rian Plante,” comments Coach Parkinson. “Alex Sadowski, who had been quiet on Friday, got into the match and made his presence felt with five blocks for points. None of this productivity would have been possible if not for the steady and imaginative setting of Vitor Macedo. Combined with his outstanding ability to read, dig and create opportunities from even the most wayward passes, Vitor is one of the premiere setters in the league and an on court leader for the Chargers.”

This weekend, the Chargers travel to North Vancouver to take on the Capilano University Blues. While the #1 Camosun women go up against conference’s #2, the Chargers men will face the #6 CAP Blues.

“Capilano has struggled this season and are in a battle with COTR for the last play-off position,” explains Coach Parkinson. “This makes them very dangerous because as the weeks pass, even a single win could guarantee them post season play so you know they are going to be motivated. Their issue is not skill or heart or work ethic, because they have all these in abundance. Rather, they simply lack the size of the other teams and therefore have a more difficult time killing the ball in out of system situations. If their serve receive is not spot on and offense options are not available to keep the opposing block guessing they will struggle. For the Chargers it means serving the ball strategically and ensuring that our block is absolutely seamless because sometimes players with nothing to lose will just close their eyes, swing as hard as they can and hope the ball finds its way through the block. If we can take this away from them, our defense will go to work and we should be able to overpower them with our size and physicality. The bottom line is that although we go over to Capilano with some measure of confidence, we can take no team lightly in this league and must continue to improve as we close in on the Provincial Championships.”