The UFV men’s volleyball team looked to start the season strong as they took on the Vancouver Island University (VIU) Mariners in the season opener on Friday night, Oct. 12.
The crowd at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre looked excited as the first set began, and like the women’s game just prior, the opening set of the weekend saw the Mariners take the set 25-20, allowing the Cascades to get a feel for the style of play of their opponents.
The second set saw UFV take the lead at one point and featured a few big plays from second-year middle #17 Ian Jagersma. UFV dropped the second set 25-21, but even though the Cascades found themselves down two sets, they had some fun moments that had the team and the crowd hyped up.
The Cascades took the lead in the third set, but the Mariners rallied hard to bring the set to 20-19 before UFV called a timeout. However, a team effort and a big play from outside hitter #2 Landon Uy won the Cascades the third set with a score of 25-21. In the fourth set, VIU took an early lead and held onto it for the win, 25-16, and in doing so, took the match three sets to one. Though the Cascades may have lost the home opener, the energy and feel at Friday night’s game was promising, and it set the stage for the rematch on Saturday.
Saturday saw the rematch between UFV and VIU and like the night prior, it was far from a boring game. From the very beginning both teams were fired up, contributing to a very close score of 25-23 for VIU.
In the second set, a few exciting plays by outside hitter #3 Graeme Hughes and a team effort kept the score close again, but the Mariners hung in and won the second set with the same score they won the first: 25-23.
The third set was riveting with the Cascades taking an early lead and the Mariners storming back. This time UFV would prevail, taking the set by a score of 26-24. The fourth set saw VIU take back the game, and they went on to win 25-14, by a score of three sets to one.
Though the Cascades lost, coach Kyle Donen put the game into perspective.
“It was a good battle back and forth for both teams. It’s tough to lose the first two of the season, but I like that we got to play against a strong team — it prepares us well for what’s to come in the next couple weeks.”
If there’s two things that can be said about the current men’s volleyball team at UFV, it’s that they are fun to watch, and they play hard. For the students who didn’t make it to the games this weekend, they should definitely consider coming out to the next one.
The Cascades will look to pick up their first win of the season when they travel to Cranbrook to take on the College of the Rockies Avalanche in back-to-back games for another weekend of competition this Friday, Oct. 19 and Saturday, Oct. 20.
Image: Giandomenico Ricci/flickr