There will be very little that is normal about the weekend for Vancouver Island University Mariners volleyball program.
Normally they play their Pacific Western Athletic Association games on Friday and Saturday. This weekend they will be hosting the College of the Rockies Avalanche on Saturday and Sunday.
Instead of getting an extra practice in, they will be running a junior high volleyball tournament - featuring several local schools - at the university as a fundraiser, right up until their warm up on Saturday.
It makes for a completely unorthodox couple of games, but women's head coach Shane Hyde says they'll be ready.
"We will be referring all day Friday and all day Saturday, and then prepping for the game," said Hyde. "It's not normally what I would do on a game day, but we're worried about getting in a fundraiser opportunity. .. but I think our girls are strong enough to do that and we've got enough of them. .. so we'll spell people off so we're actually rested for the game."
The Mariners are coming off of an impressive opening weekend, beating Island rival Camosun Chargers 3-1 (25-8, 25-27, 25-17, 25-23) on Friday in Nanaimo and 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, 25-20) on Saturday in Victoria.
The usual suspects like all- Canadian power Leanna Gildersleeve and middle Ashley VanAcken were rock solid all weekend. But one of their more impressive performances came from second-year power Megan Groenedijk who is trying to fill the boots of fifth year right side Paige Wiebe.
"She did a fantastic job of not letting the nerves get to her and looking pretty comfortable out there," said Hyde.
VIU did earn the sweep over Camosun, but they were also tested and forced to overcome some adversity in Friday's win.
In their second set loss, the Mariners bottomed out after an easy win in their first set, and found themselves down 15-4. Hyde called a time out, settled them down, and they rallied back.
"I thought it showed a lot of grit for the girls to battle back to the point of serving for the set," he said.
COTR had a bye week to start the season, and they will play four matches in four days this weekend, hitting Camosun on Thursday and Friday, before heading up Island to close out the road trip.
Hyde does not know what to expect from them, outside of an improved program from last year.
Instead, he will be focused on continuing to improve their defensive improvement and serve receive game.
"Just crisping up some of the sloppy play that's going to happen at the beginning of the year, playing with new players," said Hyde. "I'm looking for the process and I'm looking to create Plan B, Plan C and Plan D even, if we need to. I'll be looking at trying to get some players in through out the weekend and not seeing much of a blip in terms of the defence and the serve receive and the crisp play."
The women play at 6 p.m. on Saturday with the men going at 8 p.m. Local teams competing in the junior high tournament are encouraged to stick around for the PacWest games with free admission for the players. On Sunday, the women go at 11 a.m. and the men at 1 p.m.
Redmen face big test in North Surrey Bears The Nanaimo Redmen (5-1-0) are on the road this Sunday in Vancouver Mainland Football League midget action, playing the fourth place North Surrey Bears (5-2-0).
The Redmen have played well this season against lesser opponents, but this game will kick off a stretch of playing three of the top four teams over the final month of the season.
Harbour City Hockey Classic this weekend The Nanaimo Islanders Female Hockey Association is hosting the 4th annual Harbour City Hockey Classic at the Nanaimo Ice Center from Friday through Sunday.
They will be bringing 12 women's rec teams in from across the Island. Organizers are encouraging everyone to come and check out the action. There is a Saturday night social and a raffle table with prizes to be won.
" Send all schedules and results to sports editor Josh Aldrich at JAldrich@nanaimodailynews.com or email@example.com. or phone 250-729-4243
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