VIU Men's Volleyball in San Diego

January 16th, 2011

The VIU Mariner Men’s travelled to San Diego over the Christmas break for some training and scrimmages with some of the top teams in the Southern California club system.  The trip started out with a beautiful day in San Diego and arrival at the La Costa Golf Resort where the Mariners would spend the next seven days.   Non-volleyball days were spent relaxing at the house bonding with teammates, watching the Holiday Day Bowl (Washington Huskies vs Nebraska Cornhuskers) at Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego Car Show and exploring La Jolla Village, Mission Beach and downtown San Diego.  

The Mariners trained at the San Diego Volleyball Club for two sessions before starting scrimmages against Seaside Volleyball Club. Training sessions were high energy and competitive which made for some of the best volleyball that the Mariners have played all season.  Minor adjustments to the team’s strategy made during the training sessions will make for a more composed and less scrappy play for the Mariners in the second half of the season.  Scrimmages with the Seaside Volleyball Club allowed for the Mariners to continue working on all aspects of their game.  The Mariners mixed line ups all week long and got the most out of every athlete. One standout during the sessions for the Mariners was Braden O’Toole, a first year right side from Canmore, Alberta.  Braden has been making progress and this trip really showed that he has learned a lot. Braden was one of the most explosive and offensive athletes on the court all week.

The final day of scrimmages saw the Mariners finish with a match against Seaside Alumni team, consisting of athletes currently playing for NCAA programs Penn State, and University of Hawaii, as well as NAIA program Park University. The teams battled hard and showed lots of competitive fire. The Mariners took the first set winning 25-22 which was speared by excellent defense and excellent passing. The second set saw the Seaside Alumni step up their game and show why most of those athletes have moved onto NCAA or NAIA programs. Stellar blocking and strong-high flying attacking gave the Seaside Alumni a slight edge to start the match, however, the Mariners fought hard to come back. The Mariner block found its groove again stopping the strong attack of the Seaside Alumni outside hitters, which put them on their heels.  Strong serving to finish off the set gave the Mariners a 26-24 second set win to take the match 2-0. 

Mariner Co-Coaches, Rob Barcelos and Abe Avender, were proud of the play of the Mariners during the week. They trained hard and played hard. All athletes got lots of playing time and valuable game play experience. Setter Ryan Thibault and Brett Weninger did an excellent job of running the offence and keeping opposing blockers on their toes.  Outside hitters Greg Howe, Nigel Proch, and Joe Holder all continued their solid play from first semester.

New Year’s Eve saw the Mariners match up against the University of California, San Diego Tritons in a scrimmage match.  Although losing the match 3-1, the Mariners were able to take a lot from the match.  The Tritons took the first two sets 25-16 and 25-18. The Mariners were thrown off by the speed and quickness of the game that the Tritons were playing at but adjusted in the third set.  The Mariners took the third set 25-22.  The Mariners and Tritons battled through the fourth set with lots of back and forth action. Big blocks, tough serving, and aggressive defense made for the exciting finish to the fourth set with the Tritons stealing a 26-24 win away from the Mariners.  As in the previous days of action, the Mariners mixed lineups and everyone got equal play.  It was a great experience for the Mariners as the head into the second half of their season looking to move towards the top of the BCCAA and CCAA rankings.