Above: The Mariners win VIU’s 16th school provincial championship. ???? Courtesy of North Field Photography.

By Sports and Lifestyle Editor Cole Schisler

The Mariners won the PACWEST Provincial Championship title with a clean sweep in their home gym.

The Mariners faced the College of the Rockies Avalanche in their first round, and won the match in three sets, (25-22, 25-17, 25-12). The gym was packed with proud Mariners fans, who loudly cheered as their home team scored point after point. The Mariners easily turned that energy into success.

“After we got the first few kills, we knew we had something going,” Mariners’ power hitter Mikayla Wagner said.

Wagner was named the tournament MVP for her performance at provincials, and she was also named PACWEST Player of the Week. In her third year as a Mariner, Wagner was calm and collected going into the championship match against the Douglas Royals.

“This is my third provincial final, so I know the feeling of a win and a loss,” she said. “It taught me a lot, and now I feel confident going into this year’s final.”

The Mariners swept the Royals in three straight sets, (25-21, 25-20, 25-17,) to win the Mariners’ 16th championship title. As they did against the Avalanche, the Mariners had early success in the first set, which they translated to success in the second and third sets.

“I was telling the girls in the room that this is probably as good as what we would see in a national final,” Head Coach Shane Hyde said. “We’re looking at this as our first round at nationals.”

Coach Hyde holds an impressive record, with 253 career wins and only 37 losses. He now has seven provincial gold medals, and a host of medal performances at the national level. Coach Hyde thinks that the Mariners are in the right headspace to succeed at nationals.

The Mariners are the top ranked team going into the CCAA National Championship. The tournament is being held at Camosun College in Victoria BC, March 8-11. The Mariners will play against Cavaliers de Bois-de-Boulogne, who are the lowest ranked team at nationals.

For updates on the CCAA National Championships, follow the VIU Mariners on twitter, twitter.com/VIUMariners and the CCAA at twitter.com/CCAAsportsACSC. Or find them online at gomariners.ca and ccaa.ca.

Cole is a second-year Bachelor of Arts student majoring in creative writing, minoring in political science. He has an interest in all things exciting, mundane, or otherwise. He hopes to one day become an author, actor, comedian, editor, and rapper, while moonlighting as an astronaut.