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UFV Sports Thursday – Men’s Volleyball: Bobcats top Cascades in three sets

Fraser Valley (Dan Kinvig) – Men’s Volleyball: Bobcats top Cascades in three sets.

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball team dropped a three-set decision to the Brandon Bobcats on Thursday evening to open their preseason tournament at the UFV Athletic Centre.

The Bobcats, fresh off a long day of travel from the Wheat City, had enough energy to fend off the Cascades by scores of 25-21, 25-18 and 26-24.

Both teams are back in action Friday at the UFV Athletic Centre – Brandon faces the MacEwan Griffins at 5 p.m., and the Cascades take on the UBC Thunderbirds at 7 p.m.

“I think whenever we reach the bar, the bar raises,” Cascades head coach Nathan Bennett said, describing his team’s process of growth as they gear up for their Canada West conference openers (Nov. 5-6 at UBC Okanagan).

“For us, we see some things we’ve been working on in training and then don’t see executed in a match, and it’s a little frustrating. But at the end of the day, it’s a good learning experience for these guys to see how quickly things need to happen against a good program. This is a fast game, and if we’re not ready, things can compound pretty quickly. We need to be able to stop runs a little faster, and be the aggressor in some more moments than we were tonight.”

The Cascades hung tough in the first set, but the Bobcats scored three of the last four points to close it out.

In the second, a 7-0 Brandon run with Paycen Warkentin at the service line broke it wide open, and the visitors cruised from there.

The hosts found more traction in the third, opening an 11-7 lead with Caleb Kastelein serving, but the Bobcats scored seven of the next eight points to get back into it. UFV was level at 24-24 after a Nimo Benne kill, but a pair of Cascade errors allowed Brandon to wrap up the match.

Setter Jake Fleming (26 assists) guided a balanced Bobcat attack, paced by Bryston Keck (eight kills), Max Brook (seven) and Joao Cunha (six).

For the Cascades, Jonas Van Huizen posted 21 assists, with Benne and Kastelein – nine kills apiece – regular beneficiaries.

One of the special storylines on this night was the on-court reunion of Bobcats head coach Grant Wilson and his son Reece, the Cascades’ starting libero. Thursday’s match marked the first time that the elder Wilson had coached against his son.

“Super-proud,” Grant Wilson said, describing what it was like as a dad to look across the net and see his won. “It was fun to watch.

“It was one of those things where I know what he brings to the court – he brings a lot of passion and competitiveness, and he’s skilled, too. We had to be aware of where he was, certainly, in the serve-receive. We felt we had to put pressure on some of the other guys in their system, and I thought we were able to do that.

“But overall, it was a tremendous experience, just seeing him out there.”

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