By Bob Carter
Aaron Lock has been playing the low-numbers game all fall, and he’d love to try something
different in the post-season.
The Vancouver Tech coach said this past week that he had a full turnout for his team’s first practice of the season, but none since as players have missed time for various reasons.
Tech, second-ranked in AAA for weeks behind Fraser Valley power Earl Marriott, was without three regulars in the big early-season UBC tournament, Lock said. The squad still placed fourth after beating highly rated Claremont and Penticton, among others.
That showing shot the Talismen up five spots from seventh in the weekly rankings.
“Missing some guys, they wanted to prove something,” Lock said. “We used the tournament as a gauge to drive forward.”
Van Tech finished second in the Douglas tournament, losing to Earl Marriott in the final in two sets.Lock was impressed by EMS’ blocking scheme and depth. “They definitely controlled the pace,” he said.
For much of this decade, Tech’s trademark has been a quick, ball-hawking defence, and while this year’s experienced team exhibits plenty of that, it may have more size and balance this time.
Two outside hitters, 6-5 Lachlan McBride, a member of the 2018 Volleyball Canada Youth Men team, and 6-2 Karsten Nielsen-Roine, a Team BC Baden Cup member, power a versatile offence.
“Both are tall and physical, and big blockers,” Locke said. “They’re very good at putting away balls, though the focus of our offence is going through the middles.”
The middles are Lucas Grant and Andy Chang, both 6-1, and Nathan Ho, a 5-6 setter, spreads the ball around.
As Tech moves toward the Lower Mainland playoffs and like
ly the Kahunaverse Sports BC Volleyball Championships, Lock said he is emphasizing mental toughness. Two years ago at the Provincials, his third-seeded team led by standout attacker Colton Liu was upset by city rival Argyle and finished ninth.
“Being ranked No. 2, I don’t want that ranking to get into the players’ heads,” Lock said. “What’s important going forward is understanding the grind of the playoffs and striving to be better than we are right now.”