It ended far too early for the Douglas College men’s volleyball team.
The regular season champions saw their claim on a berth to the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association championships dashed with a semifinal upset at the hands of No. 3-seed Vancouver Island on Friday, 3-1 in Cranbrook.
It was followed a day later by a 3-0 sweep at the hands of the Capilano University Blues, relegating Douglas to fourth spot in the provincials despite entering as the No. 1 seed.
The Royals had only lost four matches all season, three to rival Capilano, but were unable to break open a solid lead in the first set against VIU. They led 8-5 and 19-18, the latter on a Reid Marriott service ace, but surrendered the next five points to fall behind 23-19 en route to a 25-22 loss.
In the second set, the Douglas crew trailed most of the time in a 25-21 decision.
With their backs to the wall, the formerly No. 3-nationally ranked squad held a tenuous lead throughout the third set, nailing it down on Marriott’s kill.
But it all came crashing down in the fourth game when the Mariners garnered momentum on kills by Doug Groenendijk and Braydon Brouwer to push ahead 12-5 before a short rally got Douglas to within five points.
A couple of attack errors and sharp work by Vancouver Island put them into an eight-point advantage, finishing it at 25-17 on Vedran Obradovich’s kill.
Marriott, who earlier in the week had been named the PacWest men’s player of the year, racked up match-high 19 kills and eight digs over the four sets, while rookie of the year Max Haronga tallied 13 kills. Putting up nine kills was Greg Moore.
Brouwer led the Mariners with 11 kills.
Vancouver Island, who finished the regular season fourth overall at 16-8, would complete their underdog story by besting defending champion Camosun College 3-1.
Haronga was named to the all-star team.