Royals rousted by Mariners in volleyball final

They failed to repeat but at least garnered some ammunition to carry with them to the nationals.

The Douglas College Royals women’s volleyball team were no match for the nationally No. 1-ranked Vancouver Island Mariners, who registered a record 17th PacWest B.C. title with a clean, 3-0 sweep of Douglas last Saturday.

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The Mariners dominated the first set 25-11, then fended off the Royals challenges in the second and third sets (25-16 and 25-17) to cart off the league playoff title.

It ended Douglas' one-year reign as provincial champions, but increased their string of reaching the PacWest final to three years and counting.

On one hand, if it follows last year’s result, the B.C. runnerups will have a chance to flip their fate at the nationals, as both teams advance. After the Royals knocked off Vancouver Island in the PacWest final 12 months ago, the Mariners turned the tables when the two met in the national final.

In the PacWest showdown, the Mariners’ Danielle Groenendijk was named player of the match after compiling 12 kills, six digs and a block.

The Royals were led offensively by Caet McCorkell, who racked up six kills, and Vania Oliveira, with five kills, 10 digs and two blocks.

In the semifinal, the New West-based squad topped Camosun 3-1 (18-25, 25-21, 25-18, 25-23) in a feisty affair that guaranteed the winner a seat at the national championships.

Dropping the first set, Douglas caught fire with four successive points to break a standstill late in the second set to tie it up 1-1. They charged out on a 14-4 run and staved off a strong rally from Camosun to go ahead 2-1, then clinched a berth to the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association championships with a forceful stand in the fourth set. Olivia Cesaretti and Oliveira put up a game-clinching block to complete the win.

McCorkell counted 11 kills and Emma Schill added 10 kills and nine digs, to pace the Royals. Chipping in with 19 digs was Trisha He, while Abby Mitro notched 22 assists.

Both McCorkell and Oliveira were named to the PacWest all-star team.

Since 1978 the Royals have finished second 10 times, including two of the last three years.

Both the Mariners and Royals, who were ranked first and third, respectively, in the final national rankings, now advance to the CCAA tournament in Welland, Ont. Douglas will open the tourney, which runs March 7 to 9, against the NoFanshawe Falcons.

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