Women’s volleyball shows up big
By Davie Wong, Sports Editor
It’s been a season to remember for the Douglas College women’s volleyball team. Their strong regular season showing was their best in a long time, and the expectation was that it would carry on into the playoffs. Behind PACWEST Coach of the Year Jeff Ross, the team prepped for the inevitable battle ahead of them.
With a quarter-final bye, the women watched as the Capilano Blues tussled with the Camosun Chargers, going the full five sets. The exciting match was fun for all to watch, but also gave the Royals a bit of a scouting report. They closely watched both teams, knowing that the longer the game went, the more tired the team would be when it came to their time to face the Royals. At the end of the night, it was the Blues that came out on top in five sets.
The Royals were delighted, because less than 24 hours later, the Blues were squaring off against the Royals. And the Douglas squad let them know that being tired was the easiest way to lose against the Royals’ potent attack. A 25–18 first set win sent the message pretty clearly. But the Blues had a message of their own. They sent the letter via express in the form of their own 25–18 set win and tied the game.
Now that both teams knew they were in a serious match, it was time to kick it on. Unfortunately for the Blues, the Royals caught them off guard to start the third. With a 12–5 lead, it looked pretty grim for the Blues. But amazingly enough, they battled back, tying the game before anyone could even gasp. The Blues would cap off the comeback with the topper in a 25–23 set.
Now needing the fourth set to force a fifth, the Royals went to their vets for the job. Luckily for them, Juliana Penner and Vicki Schley know a thing or two about painting floors. They decorated the Blues court with ball outlines from their barrage of attacks. In the end, it was middle blocker Georgia Hurry that capped off an excellent set for the Royals with a massive block on a huge swing. The Royals force the fifth with a 25–21 set win.
Everything was on the line in the fifth set, and both teams knew it. The two teams traded points until the very end, and even that went longer than normal. Once again, Georgia Hurry showed that she had a clutch setting wired into her brain. She made a massive singular effort block that landed flat on the Blues court to end their run at gold, and allowed the Royals to continue theirs.
For the first time in 15 years, the Royals women’s volleyball team would be playing in the gold medal match. Stories don’t get much easier to write than that. And it wouldn’t be a story without an evil overlord. For the Royals, that was the VIU Mariners, who had the home court advantage as well. Ranked number one in the PACWEST, and ranked number one overall in the entire CCAA, the VIU Mariners were definitely a daunting foe. With three out of four matches ending in losses against the Mariners, the Royals knew that the competition would be at a whole new level the next day.
Unfortunately, not all stories have happy endings. Some are quite tragic. When it came to the story of the Douglas College Royals against the VIU Mariners, it was pretty clear who the better team was. It wasn’t the story of the other team got lucky, it was just the fact that the VIU Mariners were clearly better. In nearly every way. If you needed proof, it came in the Mariners systematic 3–0 victory against the Royals.
While the Royals came closer in the sets than the Mariners’ previous opponent, the College of the Rockies Avalanche, they were still a bit off from taking sets from the Mariners, going 21–25, 20–25, and 17–25. As bittersweet as the silver is, the women can take pride in knowing that they’ve done something that hasn’t been done since the 2000–01 campaign. They can also sleep easy knowing that while they may have lost gold this year, they have a very legitimate shot at it next year.