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Women rally after slow start, improve to 7-1

The women’s volleyball team lost their second and third sets of the season, but not their fourth in their first of two meetings with their toughest opponent so far this season, the VIU Mariners.

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By Michael Scoular (The Cascade) – Email

Print Edition: November 9, 2011

The women’s volleyball team lost their second and third sets of the season, but not their fourth in their first of two meetings with their toughest opponent so far this season, the VIU Mariners.

Despite the teams’ identical undefeated records coming into the weekend’s matchup, a difference was apparent from the match’s opening. The Cascades began Friday’s game with an uncharacteristic lack of composure, allowing the Mariners to take the first set by a 10-point margin off the strong play of Leanna Gildersleeve.

Following briefly contesting a call on the landing of the ball that ended the set, it seemed coach Dennis Bokenfohr did everything possible to get his team back into the game. Never sitting down for the rest of the match, Bokenfohr was more vocal, coaching and addressing his players in between points.

And his team responded, improving on the missed blocks that previously did them in, with Jillian Saunders and Brittany Stewart leading the way in that area. Krista Hogewoning, Jenna Evans, and Kayla Bruce were the standouts in the areas of kills, digs, and serves, respectively, allowing the Cascades to draw even on the scoreboard.

Neither team has had to deal with this kind of adversity so far in the season, and Mariners coach Shane Hyde could be overheard telling his team to “calm down.” By contrast, the Cascades played passionately, the bench erupting after desperate plays and hard fought points.

After the lopsided opening set, the rest of the game saw the two teams perpetually separated by one or two points, making every play tension-filled.

Late in the fourth set, with the Cascades down 2-1 and clinging to a thin lead, the men’s teams, having prepared for their following game after the decisive victory to open the game, amassed at the doors to the court, waiting for the game to end. The Cascades made them wait longer.

The final set played out in a similar tight fashion, with the game locked in score as late as the eleven point mark, but the Cascades prevailed, extending their undefeated start to the season to seven games.

Coach Bokenfohr’s ability to connect with his players and get positive results out of them was on display during the match, but he took no credit for the victory: “I didn’t really change anything, it was the girls that changed their performance. They played more aggressively, started to believe.”

Regarding the slow start, Bokenfohr asserted that “there are different paths to get the results we want,” placing an emphasis on “how we finish.”

The women’s volleyball team was not able to finish the weekend as successfully as they started it.

After a start that nearly mirrored the previous night, the Cascades dropped three straight sets, unable to break the 20-point barrier in all three losing efforts.

An at times non-existent blocking game and an inability to string together points—a strong point for the Cascades in their victories—marked their lacklustre performance.

Strong serves from Alyssa Wolf and Jacqueline Doleman and solid defensive work all-around for the Mariners drove them to victory.

“VIU just executed better than we did,” was how Bokenfohr described the margin of victory.

The Cascades continue their season at home next weekend on November 11 and 12 against top-ranked Capilano.

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