It’s no big secret the Vancouver Island University Mariners’ women’s volleyball team were hosts with the most at the Canadian Colleges Athletics Association 2012 Women’s Volleyball National Championship recently. They went 3-0 and mined gold, much to the delight of the crowd.
There were no Oceansiders in the lineup this year, though there has been a few on the squad in the past, but make no mistake, as head coach of the team, longtime Parksvillian and beach volleyball booster Shane Hyde has been instrumental in the team’s success.
The Campus Rec Technician at VIU, this was Hyde’s 13th season with the Lady M’s — his 11th as head coach — and the gold medal was icing on the cake for another great campaign. VIU piled up a league record this year of 27-2 in match play.
Evidence of his ability to bring out the best in his players is easy to spot. Hyde has guided the Mariners to an overall league record of 179-20. In 2007/2008 the Mariner Women were undefeated over the regular season at 23-0.
Not surprisingly, Hyde has also collected numerous coaching awards. In 2003/2004 he was voted Volleyball BC Coach of the Year for Colleges and Universities, and also earned the BCCAA Coach of the Year. In 2008 he was named as the CCAA’s Coach of the Year across all sports.
“It’s a pretty good program, and a lot of people don’t know about it,” he said.
Raised in Parksville and a Ballenas Secondary School grad, Shane, 37, started his volleyball coaching career with Ballenas’ senior boys team back in 1993, around the same time he started coaching the girls for Parksville Volleyball Club. Hyde spent 10 years with PVC and was vice-president at one point. He moved to Nanaimo in 2005.
“There’s actually some really strong talent coming up in Parksville,” he said at one point, adding, “I’m excited to have some hopefully play for me.”
This is the second time Hyde and company have claimed the national crown. The first time was as the Malaspina Mariners back in 2008 in Calgary. A perennial frontrunner, the Mariners have also collected four silver and three bronze medals on the national stage under Hyde’s watch, to go along with eight B.C. championships.
“It’s a bit of a dynasty, for sure,” he said modestly, explaining that before he became involved, “the program here was one of the tops in the country. We’d won silver and bronze medals before, then when I got here we just seemed to get over that hump.”
As we suspected, “recruiting is so crucial, and then my philosophy has always been building team chemistry. I’m not the most technical coach.”
“I’m more of a strategic coach, and it just seems to pay off at the end of the season.
“Oh yeah, for sure,” Shane laughed when asked if he’ll be back next season. “We have almost the whole team returning, so we’re pretty pumped about that.”
This is his wife Danielle’s eighth year with the team, but with two young kids, the former Mariner standout and four time all-Canadian has had to take a step back.
“It’s pretty amazing,” said Hyde. “To be the best team in the country … basically in Parksville’s back yard. A lot of those girls play in the beach league (in Parksville) so …”
THE ROAD THROUGH
The Lady Ms opened the eight-team tourney (featuring the top two teams from Quebec, Alberta and B.C., and the top team from Ontario and Atlantic Canada) Thurs., March 8 as the feature match and swept Mount Saint Vincent from Halifax, Nova Scotia, winning their best of five 25-8, 25-13, 25-12.
In their semi-final on Friday the Mariners had to dig deep to beat the Humber College Hawks from Toronto.
VIU won the first game 25-23, lost the second 25-22 then closed out the best of five winning the next two 25-23 and 25-14. The Hawks finished the game with 50 kills; the Ms 43.
Saturday’s gold medal game, the 13th and final match of the tourney, against the Mount Royal Cougars from Calgary “was outstanding,” said Shane.
“Our girls played amazing in front of a full house — we’ve never seen it that packed before and man was it loud.”
The Mariners lost game one 25-23, but shook it off and won the next three straight — 25-18, 25-19, 26-24. The Ms finished the final game with 51 kills to the ‘Cougs 43.
The UFV Cascades beat Humber College for bronze.
“For the last 13 years we’ve been doing this all over the country, and to be able to do it at home was amazing,” he said, adding “we had lots of people come from Oceanside. We had people coming to watch from all over, from Victoria, from Comox, and everywhere in between, so we really represented all of Vancouver Island.”
This was the first time ever that the CCAA Women’s national volleyball championships have been held on Vancouver Island. The Mariner men hosted their national finals in 2007.
If it’s spring this must be the sand courts down at Parksville Community Park.
A reminder that Parksville’s long-running beach volleyball leagues are queued up to start May 9. This is the 20th season Hyde and his Oceanside Outdoor Sport have hosted what has grown into the largest recreational league in BC. As always, the Youth League goes Tuesday evenings and the Adult League, Wednesdays.
Last year organizers had to turn teams away for the first time, so register early at www.oceansideoutdoorsport.com.