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(The 2014-15 Chargers MVB squad reunites Friday to raise their CCAA championship banner on the eve of a new PACWEST season.)

Chargers volleyball teams get set for home opener

2014-2015 was a banner year for the Camosun College Chargers volleyball teams with the men capturing National and Provincial gold and the women winning PACWEST silver and a National bronze.

While the Camosun men will be looking to repeat last year’s gold medal performances, they will need to do it without several key starters from last year’s winning squad including co-captain and big man in middle Alex Sadowski and left-sides Jeremy Finn (5th year vet and co-captain) and Provincial and National Championship MVP, Cam Fennema who went on to UBC.

Although expectations are high, Camosun Head Coach Charles Parkinson asserts, “Each season is like starting over. As the defending National Champions, we may have a bigger bulls-eye on our back, but right now we have a record of 0-0, the same as every other team in our league so we’ve got to prove that we’re as good this year as we were last year.”

The core of Camosun’s returnees include co-captains Vitor Macedo (5th year setter) and Doug Waterman (2nd year middle),  4th year leftside Tyler Remenda, 3rd year rightside Rian Plante and second-year student-athletes Cole Redden (middle), Gabriel Freund (rightside) and Mitchell Jesson (libero).

New to the team are: 6’6” Jerome Cross, who red-shirted at Trinity Western last season and earned High School Player of the Year in 2013; 4th year Savana Walkingbear (6’3”) from Lakeland College (2014 ACAC All-Star, two-time Native Aboriginal Indigenous Games gold medalist and Canadian Aboriginal Games gold medalist); 5’11” Haakon Ostrem (Norwegian leftside who spent 3 years at Lethbridge College); and 2nd year Curtis Westra (a 6”5” Alberta native who played in the NCAA last season). Rounding out the line-up is 4th year setter Matt Cantin (former ACAC 1st Team All-Star and Provincial Champion) and 6”6” rookie middle Isaac Dellabough (Lambrick Park Secondary).

On the women’s side, the Chargers lose a core of All-Star seniors including 5th year student-athletes Hilary Graham, Mariah Holmstrom and Erika Sheen (currently an Assistant Coach for the program) and 4th year middle Morgan Marshall.

“We’ve had  a significant number of seniors graduate from the program, so it’s really important to address the continuity of the program while respecting the fact that we have a new team,” comments Chargers Women’s Head Coach Chris Dahl. This year’s squad is going to have a slightly new identity while we strive to hang on to some of the best parts of the previous program.”

The Chargers anticipate solid performances from 4th year outside hitters Erika Morris and Katie Fetting (PACWEST Championship MVP and National Championship All-Star), and PACWEST Rookie of the year Megan Beckett.

Newcomers include 3rd year CCAA Academic All-Canadians and transfers Michelle Zygmunt from UFV and Mychaela Roleants from VIU who are joined by first-year players Morgan Monkman from Smithers (2015 Western Canada Summer Games Champion), Taylor Ellis and Robyn Bishop from Nanaimo(Ladysmith Sec), Jacqueline Coulter from Calgary, AB and local additions Cassandra Allen (Belmont) and Stephanie Galitzine (Lambrick).

The Chargers open the 2015-16 season with what promises to be an epic Island rivalry match up against the VIU Mariners – Friday, October 16. Matches scheduled for 6pm (Women) and 8pm (Men) with the men’s banner raising ceremony slated to be held between matches.