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UFV Sports Friday – UFV Volleyball Women Start Playoffs On Strong Note

Fraser Valley – WVB: Tough blocking Cascades climb past Griffins in game one of the CW quarterfinals

Abbotsford – Game one of the Canada West women’s volleyball quarterfinals kicked off on Friday as the No. 3 seeded UFV Cascades battled the sixth seeded MacEwan University Griffins at the UFV Athletic Centre.

The Cascades looked to start the best of three series off by defending their home court — and defend it they did. The Cascades claimed a four-set victory (25-20, 25-15, 24-26, 25-19) on the back of a 12 to seven differential in total blocks on the night.

It was the Griffins that started off hot, as they raced out to a 6-2 lead in set one thanks to a pair of kills and a block by Mariah Bereziuk. After a run from the Cascades got it back within one, MacEwan once again pulled away to make it 14-7. UFV took over from there tallying 14 of the next 16 points to take a five-point lead and eventually the set.

UFV carried that momentum into the second. After the teams battled to eight apiece, the Cascades knocked down the next seven points and 14 of the next 16 to make 20-9 and cruised to the set win.

After two sets, the Cascades dynamic duo of Natalie Crews and Talia Attieh accounted for 14 block assists.

“We really executed our blocking assignments tonight,” Crews noted before turning the praise to the rest of the team. “Shoutout Tal [Attieh] – she did an incredible job of getting her blocks. I think as a team we were serving really aggressively and getting them out of system, so it made our blocking a lot easier.”

Despite trailing by two sets, the Griffins came back emboldened in the third. Two early kills from Alyshia Bryks helped the visitors jump out to a 10-5 lead. After the teams traded points back and forth, three kills from UFV’s Gabrielle Attieh in quick succession and an ace from Natalie Lemoine-Sells gave the Cascades a match point opportunity at 24-23. MacEwan would fend that off, and after a UFV error, Kara Firth found the kill to extend the match.

The teams traded big runs in the fourth, with the Cascades building a 15-7 lead and the Griffins getting a pair of blocks and a kill from Firth to trail 18-15. The Griffins closed the deficit to just two, but UFV would find five of the last six points to close out the match 25-19.

“We need to be more efficient with the ball,” stressed MacEwan head coach Chris Wandler after the match. “Hitting the percentage that we did, we didn’t do a very good job of possessing the ball and let that block kind of take over our night.”

“I thought we did a good job putting UFV into pressure situations, and I thought we served the ball pretty well tonight – we will be a bit better managing the ball tomorrow from an offensive point of view.”

Bereziuk finished with 12 kills and 11 digs for macEwan, while Bryks tallied seven and 11. Setter Payton Shimoda had 27 assists, and a team-high 12 digs in the effort.

Gabrielle Attieh led the cascades with 14 kills, while sisters Talia and Lauren had 12 and 11 respectively. Crews posted a match high nine block assists, while Talia Attieh finished the match with seven.

The two teams get set for game two on Saturday, with the match set to go at 6 pm PT at the UFV Athletic Centre. The Griffins will look to force a third match on Sunday, while UFV will attempt to close out the series and move on to the Canada West Semifinals for the first time in program history.

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