The UFV men’s volleyball team had a tall task in front of them this weekend when they took on the College of the Rockies Avalanche in back-to-back games at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre. Heading into the weekend, the Cascades looked for wins to keep their playoff hopes alive, whilst the Avalanche looked to pick up back-to-back road wins to further secure their standings come playoff time. UFV fell to the College of the Rockies in their meetings this weekend, but not without putting up a fight.
On Saturday, UFV opened their first set by falling behind, but rallied back to call a timeout with the score at 17-20. With the deficit only three points, the Cascades started serving and playing better, but it wasn’t enough as the Avalanche closed them out 25-23 in the first set. The second set was possibly the best set of PacWest volleyball played in the Envision Financial Athletic Centre this year. UFV was down 12-17 upon their first timeout, but once again they staged a comeback and got the score to 17-20. In shocking action, the Cascades took the lead, going up 24-23 and it was at this moment that the College of the Rockies decided a timeout would be useful. They recovered the set, winning 27-25; however, the home fans did not lose out at all due to the intensity and competitive play by all parties.
The third set opened very even, with the Avalanche calling a timeout after the score become a one-point difference at 13-14. UFV was not willing to quit, calling a timeout at the 20-21 score mark and again at the 21-23 score mark. The College of the Rockies went on to win the set 25-21 as well as the match 3-0, but UFV showed resilience in their play. After maybe the closest sweep ever, there was one question remaining: could the Cascades turn it around on a day’s notice?
The game on Sunday kicked off with some adversity. UFV used all of their available timeouts (at the 8-13 mark and the 10-18 mark) in the first set to stop the momentum of the Avalanche as they continued to score. It worked, getting the Cascades back in the game upon a timeout from the College of the Rockies at the 17-22 score mark. Unfortunately, that deficit was enough to see the Avalanche pull away, winning the set 25-19.
The second set opened with excellent play from UFV #2 outside hitter Landon Uy, who was serving and making big plays all throughout the set. The College of the Rockies called a timeout at the 18-14 score mark for UFV, and again at the 21-17 mark. The Cascades almost lost their lead, calling a timeout at the 22-21 score mark, but they held on. With a standout effort from #13 libero Evan Bell-Foley the Cascades stayed the course, winning the set 25-22.
The third set was a complete stalemate, as neither side wanted to relinquish the set that would provide the advantage going forward. The Cascades and the Avalanche traded the lead, fighting all the way through, each screaming in celebration after their team scored a point. When UFV called a timeout at the 24-25 mark it was either team’s game, but the College of the Rockies edged out the Cascades, winning and going up two sets to one.
The fourth set was tough for the Cascades, as they continued to fight despite knowing they were down on the scoreboard. The Avalanche, ever determined to close the game out, would do that by a score of 25-19. Though this game shows as a loss, the score does not reflect the dogfight that was the game.
Head coach Kyle Donen was positive after the loss.
“We’ve just got to keep moving forward and know that it will come,” Donen said to Cascades communications assistant Jordie Arthur. “Every day is a challenge and a new opportunity to try and grab a win. We’re battling for every win we can get, and the chance to go to playoffs. We need to keep playing with that mindset and hope that the win will come. But it’s not going to be handed to us — we’ve got to earn it.”
The Cascades will look to capture a win on the road when they take on the VIU Mariners in Nanaimo on Jan. 25 and 26.
Image: Dan Kinvig (UFV Athletics)