The VIU Mariners won their first PACWEST title since the 2007 season beating the four-time defending champion Camosun Chargers. That victory earned them in a berth into the CCAA National Championship tournament which they will open in Red Deer on Thursday at 8:00pm MST/7:00pm PST. They are making their second straight trip to the national championship tournament after a wildcard appearance last year.
During last season’s nationals at Camosun the Mariners played in two very exciting five set matches, losing both. Their only win was against the SAIT Trojans of the ACAC and finished fifth.
For the second straight year they will open the tournament with a team from Ontario. The Humber Hawks are the OCAA wildcard entry after losing to the Fanshawe Falcons in five thrilling sets in the Conference title match.
The Mariners are hoping their blocking remains as hot as it was two weeks ago during the PACWEST playoff tournament when they completed two massive upsets. They beat the top ranked Douglas Royals in the semi-final then beat the Chargers in four sets to win gold.
They will no doubt have their hands full at the net with the big swingers from the Hawks (18-3). Rafael Hilario led their offence with 171 kills while Kamyn Wilkins chipped in with 168. Second year setter Jake Gomes will do his best to keep the Mariners’ blockers off balance by shifting his play calling around.
This will be the first time these two schools have locked horns at the CCAA national championship tournament.