The Comox Valley’s reputation as a hotbed of volleyball talent was further enhanced this year by sterling performances by a pair of Camosun Chargers women’s players.
Third-year left side Hilary Graham was named to the Pacific Western Athletic Association’s Second All Star Team while first-year middle Natalie DeLange was named to the PacWest All-Rookie Team.
Graham, a Mark Isfeld grad, was fourth in the PacWest in kills with 269, which was also good enough for 10th in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association. Graham was eighth in PacWest aces with 36th, helping her to an impressive fourth-place overall in total offensive stats.
“It seems like a natural progression for Hilary to achieve league All-Star recognition in her third season as a Charger,” said Camosun coach Chris Dahl. “Her ascension in the sport in built upon a foundation of discipline and hard work.
“Not only has she increased her stature and recognition within the league as an All-Star, a PacWest Athlete of the Week in season, and amongst the league leaders statistically, she also serves as our captain and a leader on and off the court,” Dahl told the Record.
“You can build programs on the backs of incredible young people like Hilary and that’s exactly what we’re doing here at Camosun. Hilary and her teammates have pointed us in the right direction and we’re on the verge of raising the bar. She will see great things transpire during her career as a Charger and deservedly so.”
Meanwhile DeLange, a G.P Vanier grad, made an immediate impression with the Chargers this season, finishing with 38 kills (12th in PacWest) and 26 aces (16th in PacWest).
“Natalie’s first season in the PacWest not only earned recognition on the All-Rookie team, but also made a strong case for Rookie of the Year honours,” Dahl said. “Natalie brings an incredible amount of athleticism to the court and supplements her natural abilities with a work ethic and attitude that is a joy to coach.
“It is a testament to Natalie’s abilities and demeanour that as a coach I look forward to the next training session as quickly as the previous one ends. As impressive as her accomplishments to date are, the possibilities for Natalie are tremendous. Her rate of development is beyond expectation,” Dahl added.
The Chargers finished fifth in the seven-team PacWest league this season and made an early exit from the provincials. But with Graham and DeLange in his lineup, Dahl is looking forward for bigger and better things for his Victoria team in the seasons to come.