While classrooms at Camosun remain empty and the majority of students continue to enjoy time off until the first day of classes begins next Monday, Chargers student-athletes are converging upon PISE to shake off the dust from the December break and return to their regular training regimens as the second half of the PACWEST basketball and volleyball season starts this weekend.
Kicking off the New Year, the Chargers volleyball teams travel to Abbotsford to meet with familiar foes, the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades while the Chargers basketball teams get set to host a pair of home games – their second of the season.
Watch Chargers volleyball action in Abbotsford live, on PACWEST TV:
Fri, Jan. 8 Camosun vs UFV Women 6pm; Men 8pm
Sat, Jan. 9 Camosun vs UFV Women 1pm; Men 3pm
Catch Chargers basketball at the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence in Victoria:
Friday, January 8 Camosun host KPU Eagles Women 6pm; Men 8pm
Saturday, January 9 Camosun host CBC Bearcats Women 1pm; Men 3pm
In women’s volleyball action, the immediate focus for Head Coach Chris Dahl and his staff is preparing the team for a return to the competitive arena.
“Try as you might, training is never an equal to match play,” he stated. “The variables are greater and so too is the pressure to perform, but it’s also the part of sport that athletes love the most. We were able to compete and train for a couple of days with TWU and UBC prior to the New Year. That was an opportunity we are grateful for, but I feel we’ve returned to PISE and made greater gains over the past few days.”
At 8-4, the Chargers are tied for second place in the conference standings and ranked ninth nationally. With four players absent from the original roster, the team welcomes back fourth-year middle Lainey Jantzi (who took a break during the Fall semester) and Charger newcomer Jenna Poole who comes to Camosun from Brandon University.
“We continue to focus on the key aspects of the game that will provide us with the greatest opportunity for success,” said Coach Dahl. “We’re also working through some personnel changes between semesters. The changes to our roster are positive, but all adjustments undergo a period of adjustment. It’s a team game and the regular season is our time to work through a great many things … but we feel like we continue to move forward in our preparation.”
This weekend, the Chargers face off against the UFV Cascades who are fifth in the PACWEST standings at 4-8. Despite sweeping UFV in last semester’s two-game series, Camosun dropped three sets to Fraser Valley that weekend.
“UFV played us well in the first semester and I expect their crew to have improved significantly since the fourth weekend of PACWEST league play,” commented Coach Dahl. “In our first encounter we struggled from the service line and any time you do that you put yourself in a dangerous position in the match. Sometimes being on the road and competing in the opposition’s gym can actually help with these things.”
Undefeated at 12-0, the Camosun Chargers men’s volleyball squad is No. 1 across the country and out to defend their 2014-15 Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) National Championship title. This weekend, the team will have to do without bench boss Charles Parkinson who will be on Play-by-Play duty, providing lead commentary for the 2016 Men’s NORCECA Continental Olympic Qualification Tournament in Edmonton, January 8-10. Parkinson, who has been involved in broadcasting for 25 years, has enjoyed many years as an Analyst for both Beach and Indoor events and has had the opportunity to work at four Olympic Games. Read more about Charles’ experiences with world class volleyball here.
During Coach Parkinson’s absence, the Chargers will be led by Assistant Coaches Andy Inglis and Garrett Marcellus.
“Both Andy and Garrett are past members of the team and have been coaching for a couple of years so everyone is comfortable with them and they know our systems well,” said Coach Parkinson. “I trust them completely and know they will do a great job in my absence. We’re facing a well-known opponent in UFV and you can bet they will be hungry to knock us off after their five-set heartbreaking loss last semester.”
Training for the Chargers men’s basketball team did not really stop, as the squad returned to full practices on December 28 following a short nine day break.
Sitting in fifth place, with seven games under their belt (3-4) and 14 to go, task master and Head Coach Scot Cuachon is counting on a successful second half to make a strong push towards the playoffs.
“Our goal is to be mentally and physically tougher than we were last semester,” he commented. “We want to ensure that we are improving each day, as a team and as individuals. We have a long stretch of the season ahead of us and we over time, focus can be easily lost. We’re working very hard to make sure we keep focused in everything that we do.”
The men open the New Year playing host to the College Bible College Bearcats and the Kwantlen Eagles. Despite defeating both teams in their mid-November match-ups (CAM 81-60 CBC; CAM 91-66 KPU), Coach Cuachon is not taking anything for granted.
“We anticipate a very hungry Kwantlen team and a very tough, improved CBC team,” he said. “We are looking forward to opening the second half and playing in front of a home crowd.”
With a current record of 1-6, the Chargers women will need to do some catching up to qualify for a berth to this year’s Provincial Championship, however, despite having only four veterans amongst a sea of rookies, Head Coach Carl Macdonald is confident that the team will reach its goal.
“Heading into the second half of the season, I see a vastly different team than the one that opened the season back in October,” stated Coach Macdonald. “We have a new found unity on the team which has brought with it confidence and the belief that we can compete with every team in the league.”
He added, “We have seven home games remaining and seven road games. We have seen several games that have been called upsets, but I don’t see any of them as such. More so, they are an indication of the competitiveness of every team in the league and this shows that we have the opportunity to build ourselves into a play-off spot.”
Last semester, Camosun split their games against CBC and Kwantlen, losing to the Bearcats 69-58 and picking their first win of the season from KPU, 67-56. This weekend, the Chargers anticipate two tough but winnable games with all teams and players excited to finally be back on the court.
“We are comfortable with our prep and anticipate an exciting weekend of games,” said Coach Macdonald. “Kwantlen is looking for their first win of the season and we may be considered easy prey with the start to the season we endured. Quality coaching will ensure they are ready to play and they will come out fast, tough and assured.”
“CBC has been building from the first game of the season and they have a confidence that is on display whenever they are on the court. They have a solid offence with several players offering significant contributions. As well they play solid defence. Executing the game plan we have developed will be critical for our success against them.
Check out our “Time-Out” feature on Chargers women’s basketball co-captains Kelly Young (Oak Bay) and Kathryn Candell (Pacific Christian)!