Print Edition: November 9, 2011
It was a story of too late in Friday’s near-win and too little in Saturday’s loss against the visiting VIU Mariners for the men’s volleyball team.
Bringing a .500 record into their first meeting against the Mariners, the Cascades appeared to be overpowered from the start, unable to respond after repeated kills by fifth year Milo Warren and a supporting cast that was bigger and more experienced than the Cascades’ roster.
Coach Greg Russell swapped players frequently, trying to find a court lineup that would work. His efforts were unsuccessful through the first two sets, which UFV surrendered to VIU.
As one-sided as the game was, with leads doubling up on the home team at various points, it could have been worse. While the Cascades were plagued with mistakes on services, so too were their opponents, over-aggressively landing balls out-of-bounds and directing balls into the net. Whether for or against, VIU was landing most of the points on the scoreboard.
The one constant was Aaron Flanagan, accounting for the majority of the Cascades’ kills. But there was not much secondary scoring to be found on the Cascades’ side.
But then something clicked. “We found a combination of guys that worked,” coach Russell said after the game.
Despite being down, the Cascades never quit and refused to dwell on the hole they had dug themselves, clawing back to take what could have been the final set that the Mariners led for all but the Cascades’ final winning points.
Taking their first lead of the match with that late resurgence, the re-energized Cascades excelled in the fourth set. Flanagan continued to kill and block effectively, but the combination Russell had found that included Josh Togeretz, Trevor Nickel, Adam Chaplin, and Jason Boroevich, all put forward all-around efforts, stunning the Mariners and tying the match at two sets apiece.
In the final set, the Cascades charged out to a 5-0 lead before falling to a determined VIU group.
While the outcome did not end up in a victory, this gutsy play from the Cascades has been seen earlier this season and marks this team as one that might not win every game, but has the ability to turn matches around and make top tier teams look beatable, something that could not be said for last year’s UFV squad. “We looked like we were done, but we made a match of it,” Russell said. “We just couldn’t finish.”
VIU finished off their two-win weekend with a three set decision against the Cascades the next day.
The Cascades played more consistently, receiving excellent contributions off the bench from Victor Zych, but were again outmatched, facing impenetrable blocks from Lee Hamilton and Chris Harris.
There were also multiple disputes over questionable calls by first referee Erickson; two of his calls were overturned, one at what could have been the end of the match after a VIU player acknowledged a tip before the ball travelled out-of-bounds.
But it had little bearing on the play, which was decidedly in the Mariners’ favour; the Cascades could not shift the game’s momentum this time.
The Cascades continue their season at home next weekend on November 11 and 12 against Capilano University.