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Slow Start for UFV Cascades Women’s Volleyball – Drop Three-Set Secision to TWU Spartans

Langley ( with files from Scott Stewart, TWU Athletics) – Women’s Volleyball: The University of the Fraser Valley women’s volleyball team started slowly and was unable to recover on Thursday evening at the Langley Events Centre, falling in three sets to the Trinity Western Spartans.

The Cascades (1-4), playing their first conference match in nearly three weeks, looked rusty in the early going, and while they found more traction as the match wore on, it was the No. 4-ranked Spartans (4-1) prevailing 25-11, 25-20, 25-17.

The two teams renew hostilities on Friday evening at the LEC (6 p.m., presented by Co-op).

“I think it influenced us for sure,” Janelle Rozema said, reflecting on her team’s long break between games. “But at some point, I don’t think you can make excuses. You’ve got to take ownership and start putting the ball in the court.”

The Spartans took control early in the opening set, building a 10-4 lead and forcing the Cascades into a timeout. TWU extended the lead to 16-8 at the media timeout, and led by the serving of setter Olivia Heinen, who had seven straight serves, the Spartans scored nine of the last 11 points to take the opening set 25-11. 

In the second set the Cascades matched the Spartans early – they trailed 7-5 and were within 14-12 in the middle stages. TWU’s Meaghan Mealey caught fire out of the media timeout, though, and served the Spartans to a 19-12 lead. The hosts had set point at 24-16, but strong serving including a pair of aces by UFV’s Sadie Wilson pulled the Cascades to within four points, 24-20. But Ansah Odoom would finish off the set with a middle attack to give TWU the game 25-20.

The third set was closely contested, with TWU holding a 13-12 lead after UFV’s Mo Likness found the end line on her attack. With the score 19-17 Spartans, Avery Heppell served out the match with six straight serves, punctuated by a down-the-line attack from Purdy to end the match 25-17.

“I think we gradually got better over the match,” Rozema said. “The problem is, our starting point was so low. When your starting point is that low and you gradually get better, your level of good is not going to be good enough to win a match. We’re going to try to make our starting point a lot higher tomorrow.”

Grace Warkentin, with seven kills, was the lone Cascade outside hitter to post a positive hitting percentage (.154), and setter Cailin Bitter registered 13 assists and 13 digs.

Outside hitter Savannah Purdy led the Spartans with 12 kills and seven digs, with Mealey adding seven kills and Heppell adding six kills.

Men’s Volleyball: Top-ranked Spartans fend off Cascades in four sets

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball team showed flashes of its potential against the top-ranked team in the nation, ultimately dropping a four-set decision to the Trinity Western Spartans on Thursday at the Langley Events Centre.

The reigning U SPORTS champion Spartans (5-0) came into Thursday’s action with just one lost set on their ledger in Canada West play. The Cascades (0-5) managed to make it two, but it was the hosts prevailing 25-16, 25-22, 22-25, 25-16.

The two teams close out the weekend series, and their fall-semester conference schedules, on Friday (8 p.m., presented by Co-op).

“We’ve started to buy into our process, and buy into some of our systems,” Cascades head coach Nathan Bennett analyzed afterward. “We’re starting to see a little bit of success – I’m not going to say losing a match 3-1 is success. But we started to show that we can play. To taste a set win against Trinity is a big deal for our group.

“But we still have a lot more to give, still have another level to get to. I’m hoping tomorrow that we can compound and put another layer on top of tonight. But overall, I’m happy.”

The early stages of the first set were closely contested, with UFV trailing 9-8 after a kill from Graham Walkey. The middle section was all TWU as the Spartans went on a 7-2 run and led 16-10 after a Mathias Elser service ace. The Spartans maintained the margin throughout the remainder of the set as they took it 25-16.

In the second set the Cascades battled the Spartans down to the wire. UFV led 16-15 at the media break, and were tied 21-21, but the Spartans finished the set strong with a 4-1 run to take it 25-22.

The third set was all UFV early as the Cascades jumped out to a 7-3 lead, before stretching it to 16-11 at the media break. The Spartans closed the gap to 19-16, prompting a UFV timeout, and were able to trim the deficit further to get to within 23-22. But TWU would get no closer as UFV took the next two points and the set 25-22, after a kill off of the Spartans block by Nimo Benne. Eduardo Ferreira sparked the Cascades in the third, posting four kills.

In the fourth, TWU put together a 10-5 run midway through to take a 16-8 lead at the media break after a Jackson Howe middle attack. The Spartans continued to maintain the margin as the match wound down. TWU earned match point at 24-12, but UFV held off the Spartans for four straight points before Brodie Hofer closed out the match with a cross-court attack.

“I thought we played well in the second and third sets, but in the third we got out to a nice lead which was helpful,” Bennett noted. “The guys started to play a little bit free. We’ve had a lot of things go on with our group this year, a lot of stuff to deal with. At the end of the day, when you start to play a little bit free and leave that stuff outside the building, you start to play loose which is what we wanted.

“The good thing that’s happening with our team right now is, the bench is happy when the guys on the floor are playing well. They’re happy to support them, and that’s a sign of a good team. At the end of the day, it’s just another layer of things we’re learning to do – be supportive when that’s your role, and be ready when it’s your time.”

Benne paced the Cascades with 13 kills, Caleb Kastelein had seven kills, and Eduardo Ferreira added six kills and a team-high 10 digs. Setter Jonas Van Huizen contributed 32 assists.

Brodie Hofer (17), Isaiah Olfert (14) and Jackson Howe (10) each notched double-digit kills for the Spartans.

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