2012-13 Men's Volleyball reloads - NDN Feature

October 1st, 2012

VIU: Volleyball Mariners reload for 2012-13
Men's team has four returning players and 10 new faces on roster
Josh Aldrich
Daily News


Lee Hamilton has one specific goal in mind for his last season on the Vancouver Island University Mariners men's volleyball team: Getting back to provincials.

The Mariners lost in the Pacific Western Athletic Association gold medal game to the Douglas Royals in four sets despite entering provincials as the top ranked team in the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association.

But the Mariners have their work cut out for them just to get back to the PacWest final with a massive turnover for this season - Hamilton is one of only four returning members.

Still, Hamilton, 22, is confident in the group assembled by head coach Abe Avender during the summer.

"It's a new year, a new team, I miss he old guys from (last year's) team but it's going to be a fun year with all of these new guys . . . we've got some good pieces, we've just got to put the puzzle together," said the six-foot-seven middle. "It's a new atmosphere, there's fresh faces, fresh coaches . . . everybody is just in the gym wanting to work hard."

Hamilton declared his dedication to training within days of the gold-medal loss and he says he kept true to his word this summer, working out . . . for two months in Nanaimo before returning home to Regina where he cranked it up.

"It was a long summer and I just wanted to come back out here and play," he said.

Joining Hamilton as returning players are Marco Arnold, Adam Tishenko and Greg Howe, but Howe will miss the first half of the season with a broken wrist suffered while riding his motocross bike this summer.

Avender likes the way his veterans are looking through a month of training at the school together and the short exhibition season.

"Adam, our starting setter, he's come back so fit, so dedicated and he's pumped to be the guy . . . and I'm really looking forward to see him this year and how far he can go," said Avender. "Marco has stepped into the libero position . . . and to have someone to step in and want that position is great."

There will be 10 new faces in the lineup including transfers Dillon Collett from the University of Fraser Valley Cascades and Kyle Dupperon from the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds. Other impact recruits include Tory Zaytsoff from Selkirk College and Diego Bustos from Mexico who played two years at a college in San Diego.

They are a much different team than the team that rolled through the PacWest last season, led by all-Canadian left side hitter Milo Warren who graduated, but Avender insists they have the potential to be more well rounded.

"We're probably deeper in all six positions, whereas last year we were probably really, really solid in two or two-and-a-half positions," said Avender.

Even Avender, himself, underwent more development this summer working with the national junior team and learned from some of the best coaches in Canada like national team coach Glenn Hoag.

"I'm excited to bring some of that to the table this year," he said. "Where I lack in my coaching is more the technical side of it where the conditioning and the nutrition is sort of easy. In the world of technical skills I learned a lot this year."

The Mariners will open up their season against the in Victoria against the Camosun Chargers, their arch rivals, Oct. 12 and 13. They played on Monday in Duncan and VIU came out on top 3-2, letting them know they will have a challenge right out of the gate.

"I think Camosun for a long time was just a skill team that didn't have the physicality where as now they've become more of a physical team," said Avender. "I think it will be us, Douglas and Camosun battling for the season