It was a record-breaking win for the three-time reigning PACWEST champion Chargers men’s volleyball squad who claimed a four-set victory over Island rivals, the VIU Mariners, in the gold medal match of the 2018 PACWEST Volleyball Championships on February 24. Having earned their fourth consecutive championship title, Camosun has made history by being the only team since the formation of the conference in the early 1970s to win four in a row!
“Every win in the PACWEST is special because it’s such a tough league and we have such incredible turnover every year, so it’s like starting over,” states Chargers Head Coach Charles Parkinson. “To be able to make history with this group of guys I think is pretty remarkable. We’ve had a year of a lot of adversity, but the guys managed to weather past it and have come out on top and are peaking at the right moment.”
Co-captains and Bachelor of Sport and Fitness Leadership students Elion Wong (Year 5) and Douglass Waterman (Year 4), along with fifth year rightside, Rian Plante (Digital Communications) have been under Coach Parkinson’s tutelage throughout all four of the program’s championship wins.
“Every year is very different,” remarks 6’5” middle Douglass Waterman whose career as a music producer/composer is just taking off. “Although Rian, Elion and I have been around to win four championships, it’s a huge part in timing and luck for us. We do everything we can do to help the team benefit, but you can’t win without the other 15 guys. We’ve definitely been very fortunate and the time seems like it has flown by!”
Up next for the Chargers is the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Men’s Volleyball National Championship, hosted by Camosun College March 7-10. By virtue of the fact that Camosun is hosting, the team knew they would be going to Nationals but as Waterman says, “It’s such a great feeling knowing that we earned our spot into Nationals, even though we automatically qualify being the host team. Playing at home this year makes me feel like we’re going to be representing volleyball in Victoria and that we’re going to be trying to win for Victoria. I have a lot of respect and gratitude for where my teammates and I are today. I understand the magnitude of it and I’m just trying to live in the moment.”
While the Chargers prepare to compete for a national title, Camosun is gearing up to host its second consecutive national volleyball championship. Following a very successful stint as hosts of the 2017 CCAA Women’s Volleyball National Championships, where fans from near and far came to watch the nation’s best, Camosun is expecting an even bigger audience at this year’s event.
“It was standing room only last year,” says Graham Matthews, Coordinator of Chargers Athletics. “Looking at last year’s success, we anticipate an even greater level of support at this year’s event which will really fuel our student-athletes as they go for gold.”
Veteran libero Elion Wong, who is playing his final year with the Chargers, believes that the event will be just as exciting and successful as last year’s championship.
“We heard about how successful last year’s women’s championship was,” says Wong who was at the time, with the Chargers in London, ON competing at the 2017 Men’s National Championship while Camosun’s women went on to a silver medal finish in Victoria. “The whole volleyball community came out, and so did a lot of my friends, so we expect the exact same kind of attendance and community involvement – maybe even better because the Chargers have been doing such a great job of promoting it. There’s also a great tradition that Charles and the program has built with all the players, so we’re looking forward to seeing a lot of alumni coming back to Victoria and supporting us in a big way at our matches.”
Coach Parkinson agrees that the crowd has the ability to have a big impact on a team’s performance. “We are hoping to be able to use the crowd to our advantage,” he states. “You still have to play well, but the crowd can help you do things that you didn’t think were possible before. We’ve played in front of our home crowd a couple of times before in really big matches and they were the difference – they helped us get there!”
The draw is set with Camosun playing the feature match on the opening day of the championship at 8pm against the Keyano Huskies from Fort McMurray, who are the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) wildcard entry.
Thursday, March 8
Match 1: 1pm (PT) SAIT Trojans (B1) vs Géants de Saint-Jean (B2)
Match 2: 3pm (PT) Fanshawe Falcons (B2) vs VIU Mariners (B3)
Match 3: 6pm (PT) Titans de Limoilou (A1) vs St. Thomas Tommies (A4)
Match 4: 8pm (PT) Camosun Chargers (A2) vs Keyano Huskies (A3)
All matches will be played at the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence on Camosun’s Interurban Campus.