Women’s Volleyball (by Jordie Arthur, Cascades communications assistant): Cascades come roaring back, beat Blues in four

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s volleyball team started slowly but found their form in the middle stages, rallying to defeat the Capilano Blues in four sets on Friday at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre.

The Blues took the first set 25-18 and opened a 17-13 lead in the second, but the CCAA No. 6-ranked Cascades roared back to win it in epic fashion, 30-28, and then closed out the match 25-22 and 25-21.

UFV boosted its record to 6-3, good for second in the PACWEST, while dropping the Blues to 1-6. The two teams wrap up the home-and-home set on Saturday at Capilano (5 p.m., pacwestbc.tv).

“They (the Blues) were out-serving us, out-passing us, they were finishing plays,” Cascades head coach Janelle Rozema said afterward, reflecting on the first set and a half. “It wasn’t one thing or two things – our whole game had to get better.

“I’m impressed we were able to rise to that challenge. Usually as a coach if you give them one or two things to work on, they can improve. But for me to be like, ‘Look, we’re getting beat in every category, what are you going to do about it?’ And for them to make a change, it was good for us.”

The visitors controlled the opening set. With the score 13-13, Capilano’s Olivia Humeston notched two aces during a five-point service run to grab an 18-13 advantage before finishing it off 25-18.

Capilano held a 17-13 lead in the second, but four kills by Kristen McBride helped the Cascades cut the deficit to 22-21. The Blues re-established their advantage 24-21 after an ace from Kelsey Towers, but the Cascades stormed back to take a 25-24 lead. The Blues would fend off four UFV set points, but the Cascades eventually closed it out with a kill and a block in consecutive points by Sedona Arabsky, 30-28.

The Cascades built a 5-1 lead early in the third. Capilano’s Eva Nagata secured back-to-back kills cutting the UFV cushion to 9-7, but UFV pulled ahead 20-14. Despite a late charge by the Blues, the Cascades took it 25-22.

Both teams traded blows in the fourth. With the score even at 20, the Cascades scored five of the final six points, capped by a McBride kill, to seal the match 25-21.

One of the turning points in the match came with the Cascades struggling in the second set. Rozema turned a timeout over to her players, and leaders like Arabsky and Cassidy King spoke up to help get the team back on track.

“I hear them in practice and when they debrief, I hear them saying such great things, and then I see it being so powerful and contagious amongst the group,” Rozema explained. “I just thought it would be more effective for them to hear from each other instead of hearing the same message from me. The only word I said at the end of it, just to sum it all up, was ‘We have to compete.’ But everything before that kind of woke them up and got them reconnected with each other.”

Men’s Volleyball: Blues top Cascades in three sets

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball team fell in three sets to the Capilano Blues on Friday at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre.

Capilano improved to 4-3 in PACWEST play, prevailing by scores of 25-16, 25-23, 25-21, while the Cascades fell to 4-5.

The two teams renew hostilities on Saturday at Capilano (7 p.m., pacwestbc.tv).

“At the end of the day, when things don’t come easy, good teams find a way to battle through that,” UFV head coach Nathan Bennett said afterward. “I think that’s something we’re learning – when it’s early enough in a set that you can still build some momentum back and still build a fight within that set and get back in it. But that’s by doing the right things. For us, we need to take a lesson from this game. Maybe they have to look back at the game plan and see where we can execute a little bit better.

“It’s the things that don’t show up on the scoresheet, things that the crowd doesn’t see – where we’re standing, what we’re supposed to be blocking, what we’re supposed to be executing. Unless Capilano does something completely different tomorrow, I expect pretty much the same style of game from them, and I think if we do a better job executing our jobs, it’ll be a better match.”

Capilano came out flying, establishing a 10-5 lead in the opening set, thanks in part to the Cascades missing their first four serves of the night. The visitors would extend the margin to 18-8 off of some strong team hitting. The Cascades battled back, scoring six of the next seven points, but that was as close as they would get as the Blues went on to take it 25-16.

UFV setter Graham Walkey racked up consecutive aces early in the second, helping the Cascades build a 6-2 lead. The Blues fought back to even the score at 11, with Rafael Hilario picking up two kills in that stretch. The teams traded points in the middle portion of the set, with the Cascades edging ahead 21-20 with three straight points including back-to-back Landon Uy kills. However, the Blues would secure three consecutive points of their own to regain the lead 23-21, before closing it out 25-23 on an Enis Besirevic kill.

Capilano surged ahead in the middle stages of the third, grabbing a 15-10 lead and extending it to 19-12. The Cascades made a push late, cutting the deficit to 19-17 with Josh Willems serving and Justin Peleshytyk posting an important kill, but it would not be enough as the Blues wrapped up the match with a 25-21 set victory.

Uy’s 13 kills were a game-high, and UFV middle Jackson Obst had four kills on seven swings.

Hilario paced the Blues with 10 kills, and former Cascades Graeme Hughes (six kills) and Ben Friesen (four kills) – playing their first games at the EFAC as visitors – also chipped in offensively.

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