VIU Mariners win the PACWEST Women’s Volleyball Championship
The Vancouver Island University (VIU) Mariners won the PACWEST Women’s Volleyball Championship by sweeping the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades 3-0 (25-19, 25-23, 25-12) at Douglas College on Saturday. VIU’s Leanna Gildersleeve (5’11”, North Vancouver, BC) was named Tournament MVP. The Mariners will compete in and host the CCAA National Championships March 8-10 in Nanaimo, BC. The Mariners were the #1 seed going into the tournament with a record of 22-2, while the Cascades were seeded #2 with a record of 20-4. The Mariners won the regular season series 3-1.
It was always going to be difficult for the Cascades, down 2-0 after two sets, as they were being made to work for every open look or point. Power and Gildersleeve continued to block and affect everything around the net, while Tamara Rosenlund (5’9”, Port Coquitlam, BC) got crucial digs and set plays up for the Mariners. Gildersleeve and Power’s heavy serves made it 5-3 and then 10-6 for the Mariners before UFV took a timeout. It was 12-6 before Hogewoning finally got a point and broke the run. Another run made it 18-8, and the Mariners looked poised to win the championship. The teams traded points to make it 22-12 before the Mariners closed out the match, winning the third and final set 25-12.
The Cascades started the second set positively and only trailed 9-7 when Kayla Bruce’s (5’10”, Surrey, BC) block earned them a point. Krista Hogewoning (5’10”, Delta, BC) earned a nice service point to keep the Mariners within sight at 14-11. From there, Gildersleeve took over and her emphatic kill made it 20-14 for the Mariners. Bruce responded for the Cascades, willing her team back into the match and serving for a point to cut the lead to 20-17 and force a VIU timeout. Another ace for Hogewoning made it 22-21 for the Mariners. Gildersleeve’s spike made it 24-22 and the Mariners closed out the set 25-23 when an errant Cascades block landed out of bounds.
In the first set, the Mariners opened up a 7-6 lead and slowly pulled away on the strength of their front court of Gildersleeve and Shenise Power (6’0”, North Vancouver, BC). The Mariners opend up leads of 13-10, 17-12, and 20-16 as every time the Cascades got a point the Mariners were quick to answer. They closed out the set 25-19.
Earlier, the #3 Capilano Blues won the Bronze medal with a 3-0 (31-29, 25-18, 25-15) sweep of the #4 CBC Bearcats. The Blues were led by Michelle Torresan with 15 kills and 17 digs. Jacqueline Caverly had 10 digs, while Ashley Cousens recorded 39 assists. For the Bearcats, Sadie Ball had 19 kills and 11 digs, and Antonio Hannah had 18 digs. Anna Cupido had 24 assists.
Tournament All-Stars: Sadie Ball (CBC), Ashely Cousens (CAP), Jenna Evans (UFV), Kayla Bruce (UFV), Tamara Rosenlund (VIU), Marlie Temple (VIU).
Tournament MVP: Leanna Gildersleeve (VIU).