By Ardy Ramezani, Vikes Communications
VICTORIA, B.C. – University of Victoria Vikes basketball fans will be able get a first glance of their new 2015-16 men’s and women’s rosters playing in their brand new home, the Centre for Athletics, Recreation and Special Abilities (CARSA) Performance Gym. Typically run every other year, this year the Guy Vetrie Memorial tournament returns for a back-to-back appearance in celebration of the opening of CARSA.
The three-day event will be held from Oct. 2-5 and includes six men’s and one women’s game. The men’s four-team tournament will host some of Canada’s top CIS basketball teams including the No.1- ranked and five time CIS Champions, the Carleton Ravens, as well as the No. 5- ranked Saskatchewan Huskies and the Fraser Valley Cascades. Also for the first time, the women’s basketball team will host UNBC on the Saturday.
Vetrie was the head coach for the Vikes men’s basketball team since 1989, until he passed away at the age of 52 on Sept. 15, 2003. In an impressive streak of 543 victories in his 14-season career, he was also awarded the Canada West Coach of the year six times and guided the Vikes to eight CIS National Championships. Previous to his time coaching the Vikes, Vetrie worked under the former Vikes basketball superstar, Ken Shields, as an assistant coach with the Saskatchewan Huskies from 1979-88.
The Guy Vetrie Tournament will allow Vikes fans to finally get a glimpse of the CARSA’s brand new performance gym as well as the recently opened Walk of Excellence – a hallway featuring the new display for the UVic Sports Hall of Fame, as well as four story panels and double-sided memorabilia cases complete with photos, memories and artifacts spanning UVic’s history of athletic excellence. For more information on game day tickets, visit: www.govikesgo.com/tickets. The games will also be available by pay per view online at canadawest.tvPlease note that game day ticket sales for basketball will be available in late September.
Scouting the Carleton Ravens
The Carleton Ravens have won the CIS national title 11 times in the last 13 years. However, this year the untouchable brotherly duo of Thomas and Philip Scrubb will be absent as they have both graduated. The head coach of the Ravens, Dave Smart, will also be away on national team duties. Last year, the Vikes proved to be a tough opponent for the Ravens, only falling to the national champions 83-74 at the CIS Final 8.
Scouting the Saskatchewan Huskies
Ranked No. 5 in the country after last year’s results, the Huskies defeated the Vikes in all three of their regular season games last season. However, the Vikes came out on top in the Canada West Final Four, finally defeating the Huskies 70-67 to win their first Canada West banner in six years.
Scouting the Fraser Valley Cascades
From the Explorer’s Division, the Fraser Valley Cascades boasted a 17-3 record last season to clinch a Canada West Final Four playoff spot. Although they lost to the Vikes in the playoffs 81-67, the Cascades managed to beat UBC in the bronze medal match to capture the medal.
Scouting the Victoria Vikes
Led by head coach, Craig Beaucamp, the University of Victoria Vikes men’s basketball team won the Canada West title last year for the first time since 2006. Punching their ticket to the CIS Final 8, the Vikes posted a 1-2 record to finish fourth in the country for the second consecutive year. The Vikes have graduated Canada West Outstanding player of the year Chris McLaughlin and fifth-year guardJeremy Leonard-Smith, while veterans Reiner Theil, Mack Roth, Jordan Charles will have the opportunity to step up as leaders this year.Women’s PreviewScouting the UNBC Timberwolves
Recent additions to the Canada West, the UNBC Timberwolves, were 1-9 last season in conference play in the Explorer Division. Last season the team was led in scoring by senior Sarah Robin and freshman Vasiliki Louka, who averaged 12.6 and 11.4 points per game, respectively. The team also relied on junior Jasprit Nijjar and sophomores Kylie Pozniak and Cassie Rerick. The Timberwolves are led by head coach Sergey Shchepotkin.Scouting the Victoria Vikes
Head coach and former Vikes player Dani Sinclair enters her third season as head coach of the Vikes women’s basketball program. Although the team graduated the talents of fifth years Jessica Renfrew and Cassandra Goodis, the 2015-16 squad still boasts a lot of talent. Both former Canada West rookies of the year and Hamilton, Ont. natives Jenna Bugiardini and Amira Giannattasio will likely pace the Vikes this year, while the experience of third-year Vikes Nicole Karstein and Jenna Krug will be pivotal to the team’s depth. Last season the Vikes finished fifth in the Pioneer Division with a 13-7 record, while they beat Thompson Rivers in a thrilling best-of-three quarter-final series before going on to lose 78-74 to Alberta in the Canada West bronze-medal game.