On Thursday, November 11, the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades Men’s Volleyball Team suffered a disappointing defeat at the hands of the Columbia Bible College Bearcats. Although initially favoured, the Cascades were swept 3-0 in front of an intimidating crowd at CBC Place. The scores were 25-22, 25-19, 25-19. Prior to the game, the Cascades were ranked seventh in Canada according to the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association (CCAA), while the Bearcats came behind, in tenth.
The loss is the mirror opposite of the result of the last time the two teams met in October, when the Cascades overwhelmed the ‘Cats in three sets. Brynden McTavish, a UFV setter explained: “we are disappointed with our play as a team, the problem wasn’t individuals. We were missing a big play from everybody.” Kyle Leinweber, another UFV player, was more terse in his response. “We don’t know exactly what happened,” he said. “It was a combination of things.” Fortunately, both boys agreed, they have a bye week to figure things out before their next league game.
The Cascades looked dangerous initially and sprung to a quick 14-9 lead in the first set. Confident and authoritative, they seemed to be ready to commit a ‘Cat massacre. Unfortunately, that five point lead was to be their only lead of the night (aside from a two-minute interval in the third set).
The Bearcats, on the other hand, came out stumbling. A quick succession of service errors coupled with some excellent Cascade blocks set them back on their heels. But they’d been hiding a secret weapon, a holy hand grenade of sorts, personified in two words: Matt Kaminski.
Halfway through the first set, the fourth year Bearcat powerhouse turned it on, and the Cascades were unable to counter. Kaminski, an outside hitter from Saskatchewan, ended the night with 14 kills, at least double the number of anyone else on the CBC team. His veteran presence was essential to the ‘Cats victory.
The Cascades tried to rally in the second game but were once again foiled by Kaminski. A series of exceptional plays from Aaron Flanagan, including some big blocks, helped the men recover from an early deficit, but even the frantic gymnastics of libero Alec Dumerton couldn’t give the Cascades a lead. Strong play from ‘Cats setter Jason Warkentin and middle Danny Grant propelled CBC to a commanding second set victory.
The third game was more of the same, although it took the Bearcats longer to develop a substantial lead. The game was tied several times, and the Cascades fought hard into the mid-set, but even a surprising match point service error from Kaminski only delayed the inevitable.
A girl in the crowd summed the game up as follows: “Despite the unusual attractiveness of the UFV team, they were unable to achieve victory.” Small compensation perhaps, for what was otherwise a rather frustrating defeat.