Print Edition: January 23, 2013
As of the beginning of last weekend the UFV volleyball program was one of extremes.
On one hand, the Cascades women were ranked first in the CCAA standings, just ahead of Lynx d’Edouard Montpetit. On the other, the Cascades men were ranked last in the PACWEST, just behind the CBC Bearcats (another cat-named religious school, for you conspiracy theorists). Things couldn’t get much better for the ladies, and couldn’t get much worse for the men.
Enter the Capilano Blues, who thankfully spread the melancholy only to their own win/loss record (mostly) when they faced off against both UFV volleyball squads.
On Friday, the UFV women cruised to a quick 3–0 victory (25–9, 26–24, 25–16) over their Cap counterparts, while the men embraced the short end of the analogy with a stuttering 0–3 surrender (19–25, 20–25, 17–25).
The next day, nothing was quite as simple.
The Cascades men opened their match with a furious effort from third-year left side Chris Schmicke (12 kills over four sets, and rode that momentum to 25–20 set victory. In a dramatic reversal, they would take the match 3–1, with the help of a 17-kill performance from another third year, Josh Togeretz. The victory moves them into a tie with CBC for sixth spot in the PACWEST and the final playoff spot.
The Cascades women would also begin in fine fashion with a 25–20 set, but then dropped a shocker to even out the scoreboard.
UFV head coach Dennis Bokenfohr commended the Blues for their play after the game: “Even though they’re ranked second-last [in the PACWEST] it’s pretty tied up there. Second-last to third, anyone could win any match. But Capilano, they just played very good defence, they didn’t let the ball hit the ground and they swung aggressively back at us. Also [left side Sydney Thornton] on Capilano just went off and had a great attack for a while there.”
Bokenfohr’s team would storm back, taking the third and fourth sets 25–23 and 25–13. The win keeps the Cascades in first place in the PACWEST, one match ahead of VIU.
“It’s flattering,” Bokenfohr said of his team’s rank as top in the nation, “It’s just a result of hard work. We’re not any different than we were at the beginning of the season, just the country’s perception of us is a little different.”
Last year’s PACWEST Female Athlete of the Year, UFV’s Kayla Bruce, commented on her string of kills which helped turn the third set in the Cascades’ favour.
“When we needed points, my high school team used to have an expression, ‘feed the beast!’ … ” [laughs] “You set to the people who are hitting well, and it opens up the outside as well.”
Ultimately, all the girls contributed to a dominating performance. “[I’m proud of them for] constantly competing,” coach Bokenfohr said of his team. “Their strength is in their maturity and composure and they just stayed composed. We realize that we’re not going t win every set and we came back strong in the third and fourth set.”