Print Edition: November 13, 2013
This weekend the women’s volleyball team played two tough games against the VIU Mariners as they looked to prove the legitimacy of their number one national ranking.
The two-day contest against the fifth-ranked Mariners began on Friday with a typically strong game from the women’s squad, sweeping VIU in three straight sets by scores of 25-22, 25-15, and 25-17.
The women’s squad has been perfect so far this season. Before Saturday’s game they registered seven wins to start the season, keeping their total losses at two since the beginning of last year’s historic national championship season.
In the second game of the weekend, the visitors pushed the Cascades women extremely hard. But buoyed by the inspired play of their veteran trio Jenna Evans, Kierra Noot, and Emily Carroll, the team fought off the Mariner assault.
Carroll made a great contribution early in the game as she and Krista Hogewoning made some huge blocks that gave the Cascades crucial points in the first set. The Cascade women seemed to struggle early against the Mariners defense.
The squad as a whole made a series of unforced errors in the first set which contributed more to the close score than the play of the Mariners did. These mistakes also included some poor serves that handed over easy points.
Recognizing that her team needed her to step up, Noot made an important and timely contribution, ripping off three blocks in a row to tie the game at 24. Unfortunately, the Cascades could not build on the momentum and lost the first set by a count of 26-24.
The second set featured some great rallies as both sides demonstrated to the UFV crowd why they hold such an impressive record. Noot and Carroll anchored the team, fighting hard against the Mariners, but this time they also had the help of fifth-year Evans, the senior player on the team. The Cascades proved their resilience by making some phenomenal plays even after the Mariners made key blocks in order to stay in the game. The second set, like the first, progressed into the volleyball equivalent of overtime as both teams played hard and pushed the score past 25. Both teams were looking for the two point differential required to win the contest. Finally, the Cascades got the points required and closed the match with a 28-26 victory.
The Mariners took the third set, and UFV the fourth, paving the way for a decisive fifth and final set. Luckly, the Cascades had saved the best for last, taking an early 5-1 lead. Mariners coach Shane Hyde, no doubt in an attempt to arrest the Cascades’ momentum and secure an advantage for his squad, took a timeout to help his team calm down and strategize. Once again, it was the strong play of Evans, Noot, and Carroll that inspired UFV’s solid play. Despite the timeout the Cascades continued their assault securing a 9-1 lead before the Mariners scored their second point.
In the end, the Mariners could do little to stop the Cascades once they turned up the intensity. UFV defended their number one rank, winning the fifth and final set 15-7 and winning the match three sets against two.
It was proven in this contest that the Cascades are the team to beat not only in the PACWEST conference but also in the CCAA as they hope to translate their number one ranking into a second consecutive national championship.
In other action this weekend the Cascades men’s volleyball team dropped back-to-back games against the Mariners by scores of three sets against zero and three sets against one.