Both men’s and women’s volleyball teams entered the playoffs as underdogs. At the first round of competition, held at Columbia Bible College in Abbotsford, both of UFV’s teams tumbled out early, but not before giving a good showing of themselves.
Thursday night saw the men’s team in front of a very supportive — and loud — crowd. The team drew the College of the Rockies Avalanches as opponents, a side the Cascades beat three times over the course of the regular season. This time, however, the Avalanches were able to take two of the first three sets, and despite UFV establishing a lead of 24-19 in the fourth set, they were unable to prevent the Avalanches from launching a stunning comeback that saw them score seven uninterrupted points to clinch the tie and move ahead into the semi-finals against the first-seed Camosun Chargers.
Where the men’s team stumbled in the quarter-finals, the women’s team was able to push deeper into the tournament. Up against the Douglas College Royals, undefeated against UFV in the regular season, the Cascades broke that ultimately meaningless record in a tense, topsy-turvy match. After a grueling first-set win, a heavy loss in the second, and a much more emphatic third set victory, the women’s team capped off the match with a clinical fourth set to seal their first playoff win since 2013.
The women were then matched against the division’s top-ranked team: the Vancouver Island University’s Mariners, who entered the tournament boasting a 20-4 regular season record.
Friday night’s semi-final was a hard fought match. Following a first set victory, the Cascades established a heavy lead of 13-7 in the second set, but the Mariners were able to catch up, winning the set 25-23. Their comeback victory gave them the momentum to win the next two sets 25-17 and 25-10. Despite this loss at the semi-finals stage, the Cascades season wasn’t quite over just yet. They still had a bronze medal game to come, and the chance to end their season with some accolades.
But up against yet another higher seed, the Cascades weren’t able to find a way past the Capilano Blues, who won three straight sets against the Cascades.
Despite coming in fourth, the women’s team put up a good showing against three sides who had ended the regular season ahead of them. And it can only be hoped that their experiences over the weekend will serve them in good stead going into next season.