Hilary Graham’s fourth year with the Camosun Chargers women’s volleyball team is shaping up to be her best ever.
And that’s saying a lot.
The Mark Isfeld grad was named Pacific Western Athletic Association Player of the Week on Nov. 27 and at the holiday break is leading the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association in kills with 182. She is also ninth in aces (22) and first in total offence in the nation.
The 5′,8″ left side appears well on her way to another PacWest all-star award as she has helped the Chargers grab third place in the PacWest and 12th place in the CCAA.
Graham earned Player of the Week honours as a result of a strong performance in a Nov. 22-23 split with the Capilano Blues that propelled the Chargers past the Blues into third place in the PacWest.
Playing at Capilano, the Chargers lost a tough match Friday 3-1 (25-17, 25-14, 25-27, 25-19). Graham contributed 12 points (11 kills, 1 ace) and 12 digs in the effort. On Saturday, the Chargers rebounded to defeat Capilano 3-0 (25-20, 25-23, 25-17) with Graham putting forth 18 points (16 kills, 3 aces) and 11 digs in three sets of play.
“The ball ended up on Hilary’s arm a lot on Saturday,” Camosun coach Chris Dahl said. “This was both by design, but also just the way the game takes shape at times. That’s the purpose of training Monday through Thursday… we plan accordingly and prepare to the best of our ability for variables and opportunities. As a veteran athlete, Hilary does a good job of this.”
The coach noted his team was short of players for the weekend. “It’s not ideal to enter tough PacWest competition with less than a full roster, but we’re not unlike many teams in the conference at this point in the season and the athletes that we have on the floor have to look at is as a greater opportunity to contribute to the cause. I feel that Hilary and the rest of our crew did a great job of accepting this responsibility as the weekend progressed.”
After being eliminated in the quarter-finals of the playoffs for the past four seasons, the Chargers are looking to Graham as one of their key returning players this season.
“Entering our 20th season of competition we’ve had some great athletes come through the program in recent years and they’ve helps us better identify what it takes to be successful,” Dahl noted.
“In 2013-14 we are an older program which is a rarity at Camosun and this increases expectations as we continue to witness firsthand the development of our athletes. All of this must come together for us to be successful in the PacWest…the top conference in Canada.”
This year’s PacWest championship goes Feb. 20-22 at Capilano. The Chargers return from the holiday hiatus Jan. 10-11 when they host the Blues.
SIDE OUTS After garnering 2013 PacWest Rookie Team honours, middle Natalie Delange (G.P. Vanier, Courtenay) is listed as a key departure in the Chargers’ 2013-14 season preview … playing with the Vancouver Island University Mariners, setter Ashley Cousens (G.P. Vanier, Courtenay) is 14th in blocks and 15th in aces while libero Mychaela Roelants (Highland, Comox) is 12th in aces in the PacWest … also with the Mariners is freshman middle Kailey Dodd (Highland, Comox) …