Photo courtesy Camosun Chargers Athletics

2019 PACWEST Men’s Volleyball Championship finalists, the Camosun College Chargers and Vancouver Island University (VIU) Mariners, will hit feature court at the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence (PISE) this Friday as the 2019-20 PACWEST volleyball season officially opens on the island.


The four-peat PACWEST champion Chargers (2014-2017) settled for silver last year, falling to VIU in a gritty gold medal match that went to four sets. The Mariners advanced to the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association National Championship (CCAA), where they finished as the bronze medalists.


This season, the Chargers are back to reclaim the conference crown, with what Head Coach Charles Parkinson considers one of the program’s strongest squads yet.


“We have a great mix of nine returning veterans and six newcomers, some of whom have experience in the PACWEST, Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) or other conferences, and others who are fresh out of high school.”


He adds, “It is one of the most talented teams that I think we’ve had at Camosun with probably the best balance overall that we’ve seen in quite a few years.’’


Back to provide leadership and to share team captain duties are third-year middle and Hotel Management student, Lorenz Vogel (Claremont) and left side veteran, Eduardo Bida (ExWell) from Brazil.


Bida and fourth-year opposite, Vitor Pereira (Business Admin), make up the squad’s Brazilian connection. Bringing a wealth of power and skill to the Chargers line-up, both Bida and Pereira were named PACWEST First Team All-Stars last season and they are back this year to do the same.

Six additional athletes make up the list of returnees, included are: fourth-year opposite and Reynolds grad, Morgan Humphreys (Sport Management); Business Admin student, Dale MacDonell (Pacific Christian), who returns for a third year to the middle position; UT student, Mitch Whittla (Royal Bay), who is playing double duty as a middle and left side; and AD Arts student, Kyle Bourdon from Oak Bay High. Bourdon was an All-Star at last season’s PACWEST Championships and has been assigned the dual role of setter and libero. Graham Basi (Reynolds), who earned the prestigious President’s Cup for excellence in academics and athletics last season, returns for his second year on the left side while continuing his studies in Camosun’s Business Admin program.


Joining the Chargers are six newcomers. Fifth-year middle, Ty Moormon (Sport Management) comes to Camosun, most recently, from playing professionally in Sweden and winning a National Championship with Red Deer College. At 6’8” and 257 lbs, Moorman, who grew up in Penticton, is undoubtedly one of the biggest athletes that has ever suited up for the Chargers and he is certain to make a big impact at the net.


Fellow Sport Management student and third-year left side, Brendan Folkerts (Winnipeg), arrives after playing two years with the CBC Bearcats and taking a one-year hiatus. Folkerts turned down a number of offers before arriving at Camosun, including one from the RDC Kings, who have made five Top 2 finishes at Nationals, in the last seven years.


Four rookies round out the Chargers recruits and they are: setter, Elvind Hettervik (Sport and Fitness Leadership) from Norway;  Calgarian, Liam Conlin (Business Admin), on the left side; Kyle Butterworth (University Transfer) from Kelowna who will be playing setter and left side; and libero, Kristofer La Guardia (Visual Arts) from Vancouver.


“Most first-year guys are a little bit raw coming in and just lack the experience to play at this level,” states Coach Parkinson. “This year, we picked up an exceptional libero. Kristofer has been on the Provincial Team for the last few years, and at 5’4” on a tall day, he has battled to become one of the best liberos in the province. He’s a former gymnast and is incredibly strong. He has a really low center of gravity and is quick as a cat. He has tremendous skills and will give the crowd something to really cheer about. He’s the guy that will make those spectacular plays and track impossible balls down.”


Red-shirting with the Chargers this year are: Arts and Science student, Aidan Chisholm (St. Andrews, MB); second-year left side, Lucas Hinger, (Business Admin) from Okotoks, AB; University Transfer student, Gerry Peng (UT), who is out of the Claremont program and won a Bronze at Provincials last year under Head Coach Shon Ryan; and Harrison Fedoriw (Belmont) who played with the VVA and is now taking Business Admin.


While Camosun joins four of six PACWEST schools carrying the maximum number of International students (3), the Chargers are active proponents of keeping talent local, with a total of eight student-athletes hailing from the Capital Region.


“Part of our philosophy is trying to use local guys as much as possible,” comments Coach Parkinson. “We are the only volleyball in town at the post-secondary level, as UVic does not have a program. I believe it’s important that these kids see that they have a destination that they can go to.”


He adds, “This year, we have an impressive combination of veterans and rookies of different levels of experience. If you look at our starting line up on paper, it’s going to be really, really tough for people to beat us. What we have to do is translate what’s on paper to the court and that’s always the trick.”


Catch the Chargers in their home opener against the VIU Mariners this Friday at the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence. The rematch is scheduled for Saturday, with VIU hosting Camosun in Nanaimo.


Friday                    Oct. 11  Camosun hosts VIU         Women 6pm; Men 8pm   Watch Live via CAM Webcast

Saturday              Oct. 12  VIU hosts Camosun         Women 5pm; Men 7pm   Watch Live via VIU Webcast