Abbotsford/Cranbrook – A trio of athletes from the University of the Fraser Valley women’s volleyball team were honoured on Wednesday as the PACWEST announced its 2018-19 all-conference teams.
Cascades left sides Amanda Matsui and Kim Bauder were named PACWEST first team all-stars, while middle Alysha Cooper was voted to the all-rookie team.
They lead the UFV squad into the PACWEST championships this week, hosted by the College of the Rockies Avalanche in Cranbrook, B.C. The No. 4 seed Cascades open with a quarter-final match-up against the No. 5 Capilano Blues (1 p.m. MT / 12 p.m. Pacific, pacwestbc.tv).
Matsui, a sophomore from Port Coquitlam, B.C., earned first team all-star recognition for the second straight season. She finished second in the PACWEST in both kills (3.18/set) and total offensive points (3.67 points/set), and also ranked ninth in digs (2.56/set).
Matsui has missed the Cascades’ last seven games due to injury, and head coach Mike Gilray noted that her absence has underscored her value to the squad.
“We were able to see the impact she has on our team, and it’s really important that people recognize the role she played,” he said. “The P1 position in volleyball is extremely difficult – it’s someone who can bring more than just the offence, but also passing, defence and blocking. Seeing her near the top of all those stats is incredible.”
Bauder, the Cascades’ fifth-year team captain from Langley, B.C., was named a conference all-star for a second consecutive campaign after picking up second team all-star honours in 2017-18. She had a senior season to remember – she’s the only player in the PACWEST to rank in the top 10 for total offence (fourth, 3.31 points/set), kills (seventh, 2.55/set), aces (second, 0.63/set) and digs (fourth, 3.01/set).
“It was amazing to watch the maturity of Kim on and off the court,” Gilray said. “To be a captain and perform at that level is very difficult.”
Cooper, who hails from Burnaby, B.C., turned in a sparkling rookie campaign. She averaged 1.01 kills per set with a stellar .443 hitting percentage, and ranked 18th in the conference in aces (0.35/set) and 20th in blocks (0.19/set).
“Alysha has worked extremely hard this year,” Gilray said. “For her to start as a first-year with the middles we have is outstanding. We have only seen the tip of the iceberg for her.”