A trio of former Belmont Bulldogs didn’t have to worry about switching jersey colours this year when they joined the Camosun Chargers men’s volleyball team.
Rookies Douglas Waterman, Mark Severinsen and Taran Silas, products of Kris Johnson’s program at Belmont, have fit right in with the Chargers, with fourth-year middle Alex Sadowski helping blaze the trail for them.
The Gazette caught up with the four players last weekend, after the second-place Chargers swept their second Pacific Western Athletic Association (PacWest) home match in two days against the University of Fraser Valley Cascades at the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence.
“We played high school together and have played together since Grade 8,” said Waterman, a six-five middle out of Metchosin. “It’s really awesome to have some of my best friends (playing on this team).”
He likes the fact that four former Bulldogs are playing the sport at a high level this season and will compete for a provincial title next month when Camosun hosts the PacWest championships.
“Hopefully this is sparking some younger kids to play volleyball,” Waterman said. “When I started playing I didn’t love it, I just said ‘what the heck, let’s try it out.’ Now it’s my favourite sport; I love it and can’t get enough of it.”
Colwood resident Severinsen, a six-foot-one leftside hitter and one of three brothers to play for the Bulldogs in past years, also hopes the prevalence of Belmont alums will have a positive effect.
“It kind of paves the way for younger players,” he said. “We’ve seen volleyball at Belmont go from nothing, where (older brother Luke) almost didn’t have a team because no one really knew about Belmont as a volleyball school, to now we’re seeing more players than the team can handle. It’s awesome seeing younger teams perform better and better every year.”
While Severinsen and Silas, a six-two leftside from Colwood, are seeing limited floor time yet, Waterman has played his way into a key role with the departure of Charger starting middle Lachlan Polson to Mount Royal University in the CIS.
Longtime Chargers head coach Charles Parkinson said it’s a massive leap from high school to college, especially to a college team that is going to challenge for a title. Nonetheless, the coaching staff felt comfortable throwing Waterman into the deep end early.
“He’s done very well,” Parkinson said. “There are times when I can see he’s a rookie, but he handles himself well … He’s doing all the things we’re asking him to do; he’s just light on experience and that will come and he will continue to get better and better as time goes by.”
Overall the coach likes what the newcomers bring to the team, above all their outstanding work ethic and “burning desire to want to be successful.”
Sadowski, 24, took some time off before joining the Chargers in 2011. He began with a bang, winning conference rookie of the year honours. He continues to be a leader and as the tallest player on the squad at six-foot-seven, he can dominate defensively.
Before last weekend’s matches, he sat third in the league in blocks with 1.09 per game, 11th in kills with 2.61 per game and was sixth in total offensive stats, a measure of overall effectiveness.
Sadowski gave a bit of perspective on the Bulldogs connection.
“Belmont, they do have a very strong program. But volleyball in Victoria is usually dominated by Oak Bay and Claremont,” he said. “Belmont’s been there (in recent years), so it’s nice to see a bunch of guys coming in and holding their own.”
Parkinson recalled when he first saw Sadowski play.
“He was six-seven and-a-half and 220 pounds and I started salivating. He was an athlete; he didn’t have all the skills; but you can’t teach size and you can’t teach athleticism,” Parkinson said. “What we can do is teach them the skills and he’s developed into a beast in this league, a first team all-star.”
All four players look forward to hosting provincials Feb. 26 to 28 at PISE, when the home fans turn the PISE gym electric. For Sadowski, one of two Chargers in their final year, the hope is to go out in style, capturing the crown as the 2009-10 Chargers did when they last hosted the tournament.
Camosun plays the Columbia Bible College Bearcats (7-9) in Abbotsford this weekend then hosts league-leading Douglas College Royals (14-2) Jan. 30 and 31. Visit camosun.ca/sports/chargers/ for more information.
Rodstrom a women’s volleyball veteran
It’s not just the Camosun men’s team that has former Belmont players keeping them competitive.
Jamie Rodstrom is in her third season playing libero with the women’s Chargers (12-2), who are in a battle for top spot in the PacWest standings with the Capilano University Blues (13-1) after sweeping UFV 3-0 on home court at PISE last weekend.
Rodstrom, who earned a Canadian Collegiate national collegiate scholar-athlete
The women’s provincial championships run concurrent to the men’s at Camosun next month. But if things keep going the way they have been, the Chargers will be among the favourites to capture the women’s crown as well.