Royals take out VIU Mariners
By Eric Wilkins, Sports Editor
On November 22, the men’s volleyball team played its second to last game before the break when they hosted the visiting Vancouver Island University (VIU) Mariners. With the Mariners’ starting centre injured for the match, the Royals were looking to take advantage of a possible weakness. And they did, taking the game three sets to one.
“We knew they were not going to be as confident as they would normally, but they played pretty well considering they had to change their centre. They always play with lots of heart and fire and you could hear them the whole time. We knew we were definitely still going to have our hands full,” commented coach Brad Hudson.
The game started with VIU hopping out to a 1-0 lead, but that would be the biggest, and only, lead for them that set. Douglas got on top 9-2 at one point, and while VIU drew within one later in the set, the Royals always seemed in control, ultimately taking it 25-21 with Angus Ireland supplying the final dig before Andrew McWilliam put it away. The Royals dropped the second set 25-20 but were back to business in the third, taking it 25-16 on a George Thompson spike to put the hosts back in the driver’s seat 2-1. Douglas had been strong at the net all game, but it was truly on display in the final set as Drew Ruby, Caleb Konrad, and Ahmad Mustafa Haq all came up with huge blocks to help the Royals finish up 25-20.
“I think we passed well and our offence really exploded. We dug up a lot of balls and our blocks were up there a lot too. We were pretty consistent throughout the whole match,” said McWilliam.
With the squad now finished with league games for the semester, coach Hudson spoke to the team’s development. “We’re not near good enough in anything yet for us to rest our hats on it. I think they’re doing a really good job and they’re starting to figure out who they are, but really there’s a lot of aspects to our game that we could still, at the very least, tweak.”
Hudson also spoke to the different paces of the year’s games and the timing of the break. “First semester is so long for us. We don’t start until after Thanksgiving, whereas second semester you start first week back. First semester feels very much like a marathon and second semester’s a little bit more of a sprint. We’re excited to get back at it.”
McWilliam’s thoughts heading into Christmas were positive, too. “Obviously we would have liked to have been undefeated—that’s ideal. But I think we’re learning a lot, as you can see today.”
McWilliam finished with his thoughts on what the team needed to work on. “Just coming out with energy. As long as we maintain that and don’t ride a roller coaster—just keep a level of composure throughout the whole time—I think we’ll be fine.”
The team will take to California over the break for some games before resuming in January with a 6-6 record.