On November 26 and 27, the UFV Cascades took on the Douglas College Royals and then Capilano University Blues. Coming off a bye-week, the fifth-ranked Cascades were hoping to finish the first half of the season with a split, yet instead they lost both games by a score of 3-0. Douglas is ranked second in the BCCAA, whereas Capilano came into the weekend ranked eight with a single win to their credit.
Saturday’s battle against Capilano was a lot tougher than the final result suggests. The set scores 23-25, 22-25, 23-25 are a much better indication of the intensity of the match. The Cascades coach, Greg Russell, commented that “we put up a much better fight tonight [against Capilano], but still had difficulty closing out each set.”
Despite the loss, the Cascades should be commended for three very entertaining sets. Most points were heavily contested, and both sides played formidable defense against some strong hitting. Although Capilano led for most of the first two sets, they never had more than a five-point advantage over UFV.
The real highlights of the game came in the third set when a cornered Cascade team tried to rally. By mid-set they led 11-7, and it looked as if the Blues had lost their stride. Capilano libero Ben Rickets dove headfirst into a linesman while trying to dig a hit, and UFV’s Aaron Flanagan appeared to have found a hole in the Blues’ blockers. In one priceless attack, he smashed a ball off the face of a Blues’ player and into the crowd, winning one of the more satisfying points of the game. Unfortunately, it was the only satisfaction the Cascades would get for the rest of the night.
Down 23-20 in the final set, Flanagan again rallied for a three-point serving streak to tie the game at 23. With only two points separating them from an honour-saving fourth game, UFV looked dangerous, but it just wasn’t enough. Two points later it was the Blues raising their arms in victory with only their second win of the year while the Cascades shook their heads in incomprehension. For a team that started off the season ranked first in the BCCAA it was a confusing and disappointing loss.
Aaron Flanagan led the Cascades with 18 kills, 8 digs, and two blocks. Right behind him was Justin Jansen with 13 kills, 7 digs, and 1 block. Libero Alec Dumerton’s accumulated 8 digs and Peter Van Bredode’s facial hair.
“We really wanted to finish the semester with a win,” concluded coach Russell, “but obviously we have some work to do in certain areas.”
The Cascade’s next game is January 15 against UBC Okanagan, who is currently ranked first in the league.