2019 PACWEST Volleyball Championships recap

2019 PACWEST Volleyball Championships recap

The Royals men's volleyball team had their national championship aspirations dashed by a VIU Mariners team that had beaten Douglas just once in the regular season.

Douglas rode their elite attack all year long, but the Mariners were able to stifle it, putting up a huge 34 team blocks, 12 of them belonging to VIU's Player of the Match, Doug Groenendijk. The Royals jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the opening set before VIU evened things up, and the teams traded points until the 19-19 mark, where VIU pulled away with a lead to win the set 25-22. Douglas took a brief lead again in the second but were outpaced and dropped the set 25-21. Hopes of a comeback arose when the Royals took the third set 25-23, but the Mariners opened the fourth set on a 7-1 run and never looked back, winning 25-17 and taking the semi-final match 3-1. Greg Moore earned Player of the Match honours for Douglas with 9 kills and 19 assists.

With nationals off the table, the top-seeded Royals went into Saturday preparing for a bronze-medal matchup with Capilano. Douglas was looking to win their third consecutive PACWEST bronze in as many years, but faced a team who had their number all season, as the Royals were only able to beat the Blues once, in the final match of the regular season.  The opening set saw the two teams go point for point, trading kills and leads back and forth, but the Blues came out on top 25-23. The Royals had a run of five consecutive points in the second set and were leading 20-18 before Capilano went on a 5-0 run of their own, and would go on to win the set by 25-23 on a Markiel Simpson kill. The third set was much of the same, as the Royals jumped out to a 15-11 lead before the Blues embarked on an unbelievable 14-4 run to close out the set and clinch the 2019 PACWEST men's volleyball bronze. 2018-19 Rookie of the Year Max Haronga had nine kills, two aces and three blocks in a Player of the Match performance.

The Royals women's team shone in their semifinal matchup with Camosun, punching their ticket to the CCAA National Championship, but were shut out in the PACWEST gold medal match.

Douglas dropped the opening set to the Chargers, but came roaring back to win three straight and book their spot at nationals. With just a point separating the two sides late in the second set, four straight points opened up the lead, and Douglas tied the match with a 25-21 win. The third set was all Royals, with a 14-4 run to open the set. Camosun made up some ground, but Douglas held firm and took the second set 25-18. The final set was the closest of the evening, as the two sides traded points for almost the entire set, neither team showing any weakness as Douglas tried to put away the match while Camosun fought to keep their hopes alive. The Royals called timeout with a one-point lead, and Olivia Cesaretti and Vania Oliveira teamed up to block a Mika Yamada attack and seal the win for the Royals. Setter Abby Mitro was named Player of the Match, racking up 22 assists.

In the gold-medal match, the Royals faced the top-seeded Mariners, who finished the PACWEST regular season with an astounding 23-1 record. Douglas fought valiantly in the match, but the eventual champions put on a defensive clinic to stifle the potent Royals attacks while doing an excellent job of distributing their own. VIU opened the match with a 7-3 run en route to a 25-11 win in the first set. They started the second set in a similar manner, with the Royals fighting back to close the gap to just one point before a 9-1 run put the Mariners back in the driver's' seat as they went on to take the set 25-16. VIU Player of the Match Danielle Groenendijk took over in the third set, earning seven of her 12 kills in the match as the Mariners won the set 25-17 to sweep the Royals and earn PACWEST gold. Vania Oliveira received Player of the Match honours tallying ten digs and five kills as the Royals captured PACWEST silver.

The CCAA Women's Volleyball National Championship takes place in Welland, Ontario at Niagara College from March 7th to March 9th.