The victorious Camosun College Chargers men’s volleyball team made a big splash on social media this weekend as family, friends and volleyball fans around the globe sent their congratulations in response to the team’s victory in the PACWEST Provincial Championship gold medal match. It was everything spectators could wish for in a championship final with Camosun making a masterful comeback from a two set deficit against the Douglas College Royals to claim a thrilling five-set victory which resulted in the squad’s second consecutive conference title.
“It was a heart stopper,” commented Chargers Head Coach Charles Parkinson to PACWEST Media Coordinator Ryan Watters in a post-match interview. “We knew Douglas would come out of the blocks firing, but I told the guys to hang in there. Eventually, we started to groove on their timing and got a few blocks and that keyed us up and then we started to dig some balls. I was really proud of the way our guys didn’t give up even after being down 2-0. When we got up about five points in the third set, I could see the determination in their eyes. There was no way were going down in three!”
Led by fifth-year setter and team co-captain Vitor Macedo, the Chargers won gold with a final score of 26-28, 20-25, 25-20, 25-21 and 15-12. Down 0-2 heading into the third set, Vitor rallied his team with his outstanding defensive work along with a string of unbelievable sets. Vitor was named the Tournament MVP and following the championship was selected as PACWEST Athlete of the Week and CCAA Athlete of the Week.
“Great players are born in the crucible of competition,” remarks Coach Parkinson. “The bigger the match, the greater the player has to be to shine and Vitor is just like that. He wears his emotions on his sleeve. You know when he’s happy, you know when he’s upset and he will do whatever it takes to help his team win and that’s exactly what he did. He made some great defence, and his set choices – even under extreme duress, were terrific!”
While the results accrued from the championships assured the Chargers a repeat trip to Nationals, the question that is trending and currently making waves following the CCAA’s announcement on the seeds and match-ups on Tuesday morning is – why is a team who finished 22-4 at the end of the season (their best record ever), who were at the top of the National Rankings for months and who are the defending National Champions, ranked fourth in this eight team tournament?
“While I know the Seeding Committee does their best to rank the teams in the Championships, I’m not sure how they came up with this year’s match-ups,” comments Camosun Chargers Head Coach Charles Parkinson. “If you look at all the technical data, including overall seasonal rankings, match wins/losses, Provincial play-off results, Conference results, Inter-conference results, team compositions and the like, it does seem a bit strange.”
The fourth place ranking sets Camosun up against the #5 Mohawk Mountaineers in the CCAA Championship quarter-finals on Thursday, March 10 at 3pm. The Mountaineers finished the season 13-5 in the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) and come to the championships via wildcard.
“We don’t know anything about Mohawk College, other than they were in the Ontario final and lost to the champions Fanshawe,” stated Coach Parkinson. “We are in the process of acquiring video of them in action and we will go to work breaking down the tape and looking at tendencies. We know they will be a credible opponent as they have been assigned the #5 rank and we also know we have to beat everyone in order to win. We are looking forward to the challenge they present and to a great tournament. Our players are excited to be returning to the National Championships, especially after such an emotional Provincial Championship final against a great Douglas College squad.”
Should the Chargers prevail in the quarters, the defending champions will play the winner of the match between the top-ranked Red Deer College Kings and eighth ranked St. Thomas Tommies who open the tournament on Thursday at 1pm.
As it stands, it looks like fans will have to settle for a semi-final battle between the Chargers and Kings instead of what was anticipated by some volleyball enthusiasts as a gold medal match.