Print Edition: February 27, 2013
Cranbrook, a small eastern British Columbia town with a population of close to 20,000, got a little more crowded this weekend as host of the 2013 PACWEST BC men’s and women’s volleyball championships.
The College of the Rockies invited 24 teams from colleges and universities all around the lower mainland and Vancouver Island to compete for the provincial title. The tournament also presented teams with a chance to qualify for the CCAA national championships. The first of the 12 matches set to be played over the three-day event got under way on Thursday, February 21, with the two final matchups proceeding Saturday evening.
UFV was well-represented in this tournament, with both the men’s and women’s team qualifying. The men’s team narrowly got in with a crucial sweep of the CBC Bearcats two weeks ago. The win tied UFV and CBC for the sixth and last qualifying spot with identical 6-18 records; however, the Cascades sneaked ahead thanks to a better set win/loss ratio. It was a short celebration afterwards for the men, as they had to open the championships four days later with a matchup versus third-ranked Camosun College. Going in, the Cascades were 1-3 this season against the Chargers, but also coming off four consecutive victories to end the regular season.
The Cascades carried their recent form right into the first set, beating Camosun by a score of 25-21. After UFV dropped the second set 25-19, they couldn’t regain the momentum as Camosun won the third and fourth sets both with a score of 25-20. This is the third consecutive year in which the UFV men’s volleyball team has been eliminated in the first round of the PACWEST playoffs.
The UFV women’s team went into this year’s tournament ranked not only first in the PACWEST, but first in the country as well. Their dominant regular season record of 22-2 presented the Cascades with a bye into the semi-finals versus the winner of Camosun and Capilano who played a Thursday quarterfinal. Capilano took the match three sets to one, setting up a semi-final match up with UFV on Friday night. The Cascades went into the match undefeated in four matchups versus the North Vancouver-based Capilano Blues.
As predicted, UFV had no trouble with Capilano in the first set, winning 25-16. The Blues managed to step up their play, as the two teams split the next two sets, both with a score of 25-20. But in the fourth set, the Cascades proved to be too much to handle for the Blues as UFV closed out the set 25-18 and won the match three sets to one.
The participants in the 2013 PACWEST women’s volleyball provincial championship game were now set and the both teams competing were from right here in Abbotsford. On Friday, Columbia Bible College had pulled off a dramatic five-set upset victory over Vancouver Island University, the second-ranked team in the country coming into the tournament. UFV, who just seven days ago completed a season sweep of the CBC Bearcats, would yet again have to prove themselves superior.
During the match, UFV displayed exactly why they had been tournament favourites by not allowing CBC to reach the 20 point mark in any of the three sets played. The Cascades strolled to an easy 3-0 match win to become the 2013 PACWEST provincial champions. UFV’s Kira Tome and Krista Hogewoning were named tournament first team all-stars, while senior Kayla Bruce was named tournament MVP.
Coach Dennis Bokenfohr and the women now set their sights on the CCAA national championships which take place March 7-9 at Lakeland College in Lloydminster, Alberta. UFV is also the favourite for the national championship, ranked first going in; however, this tournament promises to present some stiffer competition. The Cascades will have to prove their ranking against powerhouses from the ACAC, RSEQ and OCAA divisions.
For now the UFV women can enjoy another remarkable moment in what has proved to be a year for the ages.