Which means it’s back to work for both University of Victoria Vikes basketball teams, which jetted out to California for a pair of exhibition games over the holiday season.
Women’s coach Dani Sinclair welcomed her treasured gift, the delivery of second child Joseph, on 12/12/12, whom two-year-old brother James has been enjoying at home over the last two weeks.
“He’s been great and we’re enjoying him,” said Sinclair. “It’s an easy birthday to remember, that’s for sure.”
Sinclair will not be making the trip south, so assistant Leanne Evans will run the bench as the 6-4 (in conference play) Vikes get back after the Christmas break.
“I think it’s good for everybody to get a break, but you need some game action before getting back into the regular season,” Sinclair said of her team. “Every weekend is a big weekend for us and it’s an especially big road trip once we get back into the regular season into Winnipeg and Manitoba.
“This trip now gives us a chance to shake off the rust a little bit. It’ll be quite a test. These are very good teams we will play down there,” Sinclair said of the California excursion.
The women’s Vikes will face Biola University today in La Mirada and end the quick trip against Vanguard University in Costa Mesa on Saturday.
“It’s an opportunity for some other girls to get some time and prove themselves,” said Sinclair. “We’re looking for people to step up in the second half, so this will be an opportunity for some of the girls who maybe didn’t get much time. We shortened our bench during the regular season. We’ll open it up and see what other people can do.”
Craig Beaucamp’s men’s Vikes team will also face Biola University on Saturday, before tackling Concordia University in Irvine on Sunday.
“It’s nice to play some teams outside of the conference and it’s always good competition down there,” said Beaucamp, whose Vikes are 7-3 in conference play and 9-6 overall. “That conference usually has some of the top NAIA Division I teams.
“The nice thing about it is, it’s in the same time zone and relatively close and inexpensive to get to, especially when you look at air travel within Canada, to be honest. It’s probably cheaper to go to California than it is to go to Calgary.”
The Vikes, who halted play in early December, had been practising until Dec. 18.
“The guys were in exam mode, but we still practised and we just want to obviously get back into game mode after Christmas,” said Beaucamp.
They were slated to get back together for practice on Boxing Day and leave on Thursday.
“It’s like pre-season games, in a way, in a sense that you’re trying to get back up into game speed,” said Beaucamp. “It’s a long stretch in the CIS, where you go about a month without league games in December. You want to get your feet back underneath you and get back going again.”
The time off will help the men’s Vikes, who have had several injuries to key people, like Chris McLaughlin, Brandon Dunlop and Pierce Anderson.
“It’s important to get them back in the fold and get our rotations settled again,” said Beaucamp.
Both Vikes teams return to Canada West action on Jan. 11 when they travel to Winnipeg to face the Wesmen.
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