NANAIMO — It will be a night of celebration and a night of anticipation for the VIU Mariners volleyball teams.
The home opening matches for the women’s and men’s teams will be played against Columbia Bible College on Friday night.
Both squads are 2-0 in matches on the road to start the 2018-2019 season against the University of the Fraser Valley last week.
VIU's Kayla Passmore and Keal Prince are excited for the Mariners volleyball home opening weekend.
There’s a matter of some festivities before the matches on Friday with the 2018 women’s national championship banner being raised.
Women’s coach Shane Hyde isn’t sure how he’s going to react seeing a another championship banner being raised, although he admits the last time one of his championship teams was honoured he did get emotional.
“I think it’s pretty cool what I’m seeing for our opening night, It’s looking it’s going to be a pretty good party in our gym. It’s awesome that it’s combined with a banner raising,” said Hyde.
The women have won national medals three years in a with golds in 2016 and 2018 and a bronze in 2017.
Second year player Kayla Passmore says she’s excited about the roster this year.
“Our talent is just bursting at the seams this year. I think this year we have a lot more depth,” said Passmore.
The men’s team is coming off an impressive 20-4 season in 2017-18 which was good for first place in the PACWEST standings.
They finished with a silver medal at PACWEST provincials.
Coach Abe Avender says the men are hungry winning a championship after having a strong program for the last several years.
“At provincial finals we’ve lost two in a row to Camosun,” said Avender. “This year we’ve lost our wild card berth as well so the men’s side from PACWEST only gets one berth so you’ve got to win provincials to go. A lot of these guys would like to see Red Deer’s new digs at nationals, so that’s the plan."
Keal Prince is in his second year with the Mariners and echoes the thoughts of his coach about the lofty goals for the coming season.
"Our team goal for this year is making it to nationals, so in doing so we’ll have to win provincials, said Prince. “It’s going to be a fun year.”
Friday’s action at the VIU gymnasium starts at 6 p.m. with the women’s game and the men follow at 8 p.m.
The Mariners twitter account says there’s going to be a smoke show and a light show before the matches, but for the players and coaches the expectation is that the real show will be on the court and lead to more banners raised to the rafters next year.
On twitter: @danmarshall77
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