VIU Mariners teammates Keal Prince, left, and Adam Kapteyn go up for a block against the Douglas Royals during Saturday’s PacWest match at the Vancouver Island University gym. (GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin)

Top-ranked Mariners men win more matches

VIU's men's volleyball team defeated the Douglas Royals this past weekend in PacWest action

The VIU Mariners men are showing what top-ranked volleyball looks like.

Vancouver Island University’s men’s volleyball team won two more matches this past weekend against the Douglas Royals as the M’s continue their push atop the Pacific Western Athletic Association.

VIU won in five sets on Friday at the VIU gym, with scores of 23-25, 25-20, 17-25, 25-17, 15-10, and then won in four Saturday with scores of 25-16, 25-20, 18-25, 25-12.

“We had little highs and little lows, but throughout we kept fighting and we pushed through and got the ‘W’s,” said Doug Groenendijk, Mariners player.

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Abe Avender, M’s coach, said finding ways to win against a tough Royals team was good experience for the Mariners.

“You can never coach closing a team out in practice – it doesn’t work like that,” he said, adding that his team saw what it took to be successful in those situations.

“This game’s such a game of pressure,” Avender said. “If you can pressure them with a serve and pressure them with your block, teams don’t like pressure and so it’s cool when you can put the pressure on.”

The Mariners men are ranked No. 1 by the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association and the team’s mindset is that a ranking is just an opinion, but the M’s can make it fact if they keep winning.

“It’s been neat that way,” Avender said. “For me it’s a bit of a motivating tool because I think this age group really loves that kind of stuff when they see their name at the top of the charts.”

Groenendijk said the ranking is nice and he said there’s excitement within the team as the PacWest regular season is drawing to a close.

“We’re just peaking right now and who knows? If we can keep going and keep this up, it would be awesome,” he said.

In other VIU volleyball news, the Mariners women were swept by the first-place Royals, losing 25-16, 27-25, 25-23 on Friday and then 25-9, 25-23, 25-22 on Saturday.

GAME ON … The PacWest regular season wraps up this coming weekend, Feb. 16-17, with VIU hosting the Camosun Chargers at the Vancouver Island University gym. Friday’s matches are at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Saturday’s matches are at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

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