That is the phrase that comes to mind when describing the current state of the UFV Men’s Volleyball team. Beset by a string of bewildering losses, the Cascades are straining to hold on to the sixth and final playoff spot in the BCCAA, despite boasting one of the most talented rosters in the province. All the parts are there, yet the cogs aren’t meshing, the pistons aren’t firing, and the gearbox is frozen somewhere between “neutral” and “broken.”
As the only team in the league to have beaten UBC-O, Canada’s top-ranked team, the Cascades have the potential to rise high above their current situation. Yet, as the team heads into the last few games of the regular season, one has to wonder whether that potential will be realized in time to make a difference. Can the boys of the UFV squad pull together a Cinderella story worthy of the high hopes they entertained in the fall? Or will ‘10-’11 fall to the wayside as the year that could’ve been, would’ve been, but never was?
If last weekend’s showing against the College of the Rockies Avalanche is any indication, then the Cascades may be in for a short and bitter postseason. Despite moments of brilliance, despite passion, despite skill, despite fourth year veteran Aaron Flanagan positively standing on his head, UFV still managed to lose Friday and Saturday. When the dust cleared, the Avalanche had leapfrogged over them in the standings and the Cascades were once again forced to ask that eternal question: why?
It’s a hard question to answer. Why? It’s not Flanagan, who accumulated 32 kills over the course of the weekend, and whose kill average, 116 over 37 sets, is ranked seventh in the league. It’s also not Trevor Nickel or Robert Koenig, who are playing stifling defence in the middle and accumulating an impressive number of blocks. It could have been the absence of Robert’s brother Ryan Koenig, or the opposition of the Avalanche’s 7’0’’ giant Taylor Verboom, but even the most optimistic spectator can see that something deeper is at work. The Cascades do not look like a team that believes it is going to win. They look like a team that is capable of winning, sure, but they are missing a little something called confidence – and in sports, that single word can make all the difference.
In the Cascades’ defence, both games against the Avalanche went to five sets, and the visiting team still had to play well to pull off the double win. On Saturday UFV played two and a half commanding sets, but spent the same amount of time inventing new and unusual ways to bleed points to their opponents. If not for the serving woes plaguing the Avalanche, the game would never have reached a tie-breaker, despite the endgame heroics of UFV’s veteran players.
The Cascades will end their season with back-to-back games against fourth-ranked Douglas College and seventh-ranked Capilano University. Their success or failure in these two trials will speak volumes as to their chances in the postseason and to their legacy as a team.
May they find a way to make the addition work.