The Cayman Islands Volleyball Federation currently is hosting two nationally ranked women’s volleyball teams from Canada.
Fifth ranked Malaspina Mariners from Nanaimo, BC and eleventh ranked Capilano Blues from Vancouver, BC are visiting the Cayman Islands to train for the Canadian College Athletic Association National Championships March 8 – 10, 2007. The Capilano Blues will be hosting the National Championships for the women this year. The two teams are training at the University College of the Cayman Islands and held an exciting four game exhibition match on Saturday evening. Eleventh ranked Capilano managed to upset fifth ranked Malaspina in four games in a best of five match. Mariner Women’s Volleyball has been the dominant program in the BCCAA over the last 15 years. Since their resurrection in 1990 they have never missed the BCCAA playoffs, won 10 Provincial Championships and been Nationally ranked by the CCAA every season. The team has also captured 4 silver and 3 bronze medals at recent National Championships, Provincial and National recognition has been ongoing for numerous Mariner Athletes, garnering All Conference, All Canadian and Academic All Canadian awards annually.
The teams have taken this trip as an opportunity to help build teamwork among their players.
‘This has been a great trip so far for both teams. We have had an opportunity to get in some good practices and matches to help work out the kinks before nationals in March,’ said Shane Hyde, coach for the Malaspina Mariners. ‘The players are having an amazing time and this is a trip that they will remember for the rest of their lives. We can’t thank the CIVF enough for all their help in organizing the trip. They have gone above and beyond all our expectations with providing transportation, gym time and officials for our exhibition matches. We would love to make this an annual trip and bring more teams for a tournament in the future’.
Wayne Desjardines, coach for the Capilano Blues, added: ‘This has been a great experience for our players. In addition to getting some good training in the players have also had a chance to take in the beautiful beaches here in Cayman and visit Stingray City. It is a long season of training and competing and this is a great opportunity to get away and recharge the batteries.’
All the coaches have been impressed with how supportive the community here in Cayman has been.
‘It has been great how the people here in Cayman have reached out to our teams and helped put together an amazing trip. From the local cab drivers to the tour operators everyone has pitched in to show us a great time. We definitely want to come back next year and bring more teams for a big tournament,’ added Malaspina assistant coach Rob Barcelos.
Both teams have also offered to donate equipment to the CIVF to help the Cayman National Teams.
‘It is great to bring these top level players here to Cayman and give our local players a chance to see volleyball at this level,’ said Noel Williams, CIVF president. ‘We currently have more interest in volleyball in Cayman than we have had in many years and it is exciting to see the sport grow at such a rapid pace. Hosting these teams is a great compliment to the CIVF initiative of promoting and growing the sport of volleyball in Cayman.’