Chargers primed for Island Challenge
Basketball & volleyball teams going up against VIU Mariners
January 7, 2009
The Camosun College Chargers basketball and volleyball teams will start the second half of their league season this weekend with four big games against Island rivals the Vancouver Island University Mariners at the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence.
After hosting two very successful tournaments over the holidays and with two teams ranked in the Top 15 athletic programs in the Canadian Colleges’ conference (CCAA), Camosun Recreation and Athletics Coordinator Graham Matthews anticipates that it will be another exciting weekend for local sports fans at the PISE gym.
“Over 1,200 basketball and volleyball fans attended our Christmas and New Year’s tournaments,” commented Matthews. “Twenty two teams from across BC, Alberta and the US travelled to Victoria to participate in these events; they provided our teams with some great competition and gave our fans an enormous round of fast-paced, high-quality entertainment. We expect that momentum to continue with our biggest rivals coming to town this Friday and Saturday.”
First to face off with the Mariners this weekend are the Chargers volleyball teams, each of which will be looking for the upset to win. Following a seemingly slow start to the season, the Camosun men and women are looking at the second half to arrive at their true places in the standings.
Not intimidated by the Mariners’ number one ranking in the Canadian Colleges’ Athletic Association, the Chargers men’s volleyball team is set on repeating their three-straight sets upset win in November 2008 against the top-ranked team in the country at that time, the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades. With performances such as their exhibition match-up with the Mariners at Camosun’s New Year’s Classic tournament this past weekend, where the Chargers took VIU to four extremely close sets (losing 25-22, 25-22, 23-25, 25-23), the team has soared from a fifth place standing in the British Columbia Athletic Association (BCCAA) and no national ranking, to number 12 in the CCAA.
“VIU is the number one team in the country right now, but each time we have played them this year it has been a battle,” stated Charles Parkinson, head coach of the Chargers. “The key to our success is to be mentally strong between 20 and 25 points. That means converting big plays late in each set, keeping our errors to a minimum and playing with total confidence in each other. If we do this, there is not a team in the country that we can’t beat with the talent that we have.”
Over the holiday break, the Chargers men picked up a welcome new addition to the team, Claremont grad Josh Coutts, who tutored under long-time high school coach Shon Ryan. “Josh has solid fundamentals, anticipates well, is an aggressive defender and can pass the ball with precision,” added Coach Parkinson. “He is not the biggest of athletes but has a competitive heart that is as big and bold as any. He may be the big play man that helps this team progress to the next level.”
Despite losing players, rebuilding the squad and going 0-5 in exhibition at the New Year’s tournament, the Chargers women’s volleyball team is confident that they will surge into the second half of the season to be in the fight for a berth to play-offs.
“The New Year’s Classic was a vital platform for us,” commented Chargers women’s head coach Alison Hitesman. “We accomplished some huge improvements in our team play and also, in integrating our new 6’1” middle player, Jaeda MacPherson, from Kelowna Secondary. Jaeda provides a big-time block and is quickly getting into the rhythm of hitting fast middle attacks from our setter. This will be a big test for her as VIU typically has some of the biggest middle hitters and runs a fast offense. We have historically played some of our best ball against VIU and I know they won’t be taking us lightly, despite the fact they are ranked sixth in the country. We may be sixth in the province, but we have proven that we can win games off any team above us; all it takes is that one momentum shift to put the stress onto our opponent.”
The Chargers men and women basketball teams meet the Mariners on the hardwood on Saturday. The Chargers men will need to put their best talents forward to take down the Mariners men who sit fifth in the CCAA standings and first provincially in the BCCAA.
“Against VIU we will need to be strong defensively, strong on the boards and will need to shoot the ball well to overcome one of the strongest teams in our league, remarked Craig Price, head coach of Camosun’s men’s team. “With our young team we will need to stay extremely focused and determined to win games in the second half of the season. The team has seen what it takes and is prepared for the challenges. “
Standing in first place in the BCCAA and ranked second nationally, the Chargers women’s basketball team is a target for every team in the conference, including the Mariners who are outside the national rankings and ranked fourth in the BCCAA.
"We will need to rebound and defend the post well if we hope to have a chance against VIU,” maintained the ever-unassuming Chargers women’s head coach Brett Westcott. “We have spent a lot of time over the past six weeks getting ready for this game so hopefully we can show we have learned something in that time which will make us a better team."
Check out the Chargers first home games of 2009 at the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence, 4371 Interurban Road this weekend.
Friday – Jan. 9/09 Camosun Chargers vs. VIU Mariners Women 6pm; Men 7:45pm
Saturday – Jan. 10/09 Camosun Chargers vs. VIU Mariners Women 6pm; Men 8pm
Graham Matthews, Coordinator
Camosun College Recreation and Athletics
Last updated: September 23, 2015 5:17 pm