Men’s volleyball team faces the biggest challenge of their season so far
By Davie Wong, Sports Editor
I’m not going to lie. I’ve been waiting for this matchup the entire season. Once a season, I get to see the Camosun Chargers come visit the Douglas College Royals, and see some of the best volleyball in the country being played in front of my very eyes. I get to absorb the electric feeling of two rivals going head to head, with a crowd of hungry supporters. It’s such a magical feeling whenever these two teams play.
The Camosun Chargers came to visit the Royals this weekend to battle for a middle of the table spot going into the last week of PACWEST volleyball. They brought some very familiar names with them: Savana Walkingbear, Håkon Østrem, Douglass Waterman, and Elion Wong. All of these players were an essential part of the Charger’s lineup last year, and are arguably some of the best players in the country. And here they were, taking on a ragtag rookie Royals squad in what was arguably one of the most heated matchups from last year.
To say that the Royals were a tad outclassed in terms of individual talent was a bit of a redundant statement. For example, one may compare the roster difference to something like, Manchester City and Stoke City of the English Premier League. Or the Philadelphia 76’ers and the Golden State Warriors. Yeah, that big.
But amazingly enough, the Chargers have been hindered by a number of factors, injuries included. The Royals have also had their own injury troubles, but maintained the same record as the Chargers at 4–4. As we went into the first match of the two game series, the Chargers’ individual talent really shone through. Their finishing was just on the next level, and the Royals couldn’t deal with it, falling to them in the first set 25–16.
The Chargers just continued raining hell on the Royals in the second set, dropping 25 points while allowing 18. Looking outclassed and bested, it took a lengthy chat by Jay Tremonti to really draw out the talent the Royals know they are capable of. In an incredible style, the Royals staved off certain defeat, coming back in the third set to stun the Chargers, 27–25.
Grabbing momentum, the Royals were able to push the Chargers, but not finish them, as the individual skill on the Chargers roster shone through and the Royals fell in the fourth set 25–22.
After the game, Jay Tremonti expressed his view on his team’s performance. “It was up and down the first couple sets. We had some inconsistencies at the baseline and that just led to inconsistency throughout the court. There was definitely a turning point in the third set though. We didn’t have too much business being in that third set, but we stuck around. When the door opened up for us, we took advantage. Definitely some positives late in that game.”
It was stated from the start of the season that the team had to build onto those positives, and after that loss, Tremonti and the squad had the chance to show their home fans just what that meant. Early into the first set of the second game, it wasn’t looking to smooth. The Chargers outside hitters were all over the Royals, and it looked like there was little the team could do about it. The Chargers ended up claiming the first set 25–19.
But if the Royals have anything, it’s a leader in Jay Tremonti that really inspires a style of spunky play that never goes away. That sort of attitude came in handy when they Royals found themselves with a lead in the second set. After fumbling with it a couple of times, the Royals figured out the formula to close a set, and locked it tight, taking it 25–22 to tie the game.
The third set was by far the tightest, as the Chargers threw everything they had at the Royals, and the Royals did the best they could to withstand the barrage. They say that the team with the best will survives the barrage fire, and it’s obvious that the Royals had the will to win because they made it out of the third set with a fantastic 26–24 set win to take the lead in sets.
The lead was thrilling but short lasted as the Chargers blasted the equalized set into history with a 25–18 set win. Going down to a fifth and final set is what this rivalry lives for. Tension in the gym couldn’t be any higher, and every point the Royals smacked into the ground was a reason to scream and cheer.
The crowd went wild every time the ball was drilled into the ground by the Royals, and the home squad managed to do it 15 times for the set win, and the game win. After the thriller, an ecstatic Jay Tremonti took the time to address the media. “It feels really good going the distance with Camosun. These ones feel like they mean a bit more, and it was really a team effort. We looked to guys in new positions like Jerry Yan. Jerry hasn’t swung a ton for us this season, and he was one of our top scorers and lead the +/- chart on us with +15. He really drove the ship for us tonight. As for overall, we are really working towards February. We are really investing in the process and into the team that is going to be successful come playoffs. I think it really came together tonight, and that was the result of the last couple weeks of hard work.”