Cap roars out of gate in opening weekend

Photo Paul Yates / Vancouver Sports Pictures
Photo Paul Yates / Vancouver Sports Pictures

CJ Pentland, CapU Sports Information Director / Photos Paul Yates, Vancouver Sports Pictures

The Capilano University Blues men’s volleyball team came roaring out of the gate in their opening weekend of the PACWEST regular season, showing strength in several facets of their game in a weekend sweep of the Douglas College Royals at home in North Vancouver.

On Friday night at the Sportsplex, Capilano took control from the get-go and didn’t look back. The two sides traded points early on in the first set before Capilano went on a small run to force a Douglas timeout at 14-9. The Blues continued their high-powered attack out of the short break, delivering strong play at the net and effective serves to carry them to a 25-15 win in set one. Second-year middle Zarley Zalusky was specifically active all over the court, displaying a hard spin serve and stuffing several Douglas attacks at the net. 

Setter Simon Friesen had 60 assists over the two games.

The second set provided more of the same up-tempo action. Third-year setter Simon Friesen spread the offence around to keep the Royals defense guessing, and the Blues kept up their strong play at the net, but the Royals chipped away and tied the game up at 22. After Douglas called a timeout at 23-22, the reigning PACWEST Rookie of the Year, Justin Yee, stepped up to the service line and ripped two consecutive aces to close out the second set.

Each team’s service game proved to be a huge difference in the match, as Capilano recorded 11 aces and made just six service errors, while Douglas had only three aces and made 23 errors.The third set again went down to the wire, with the score tied at 20 before Capilano won four straight points to bring up match point. Yet Douglas didn’t go away quietly, answering back with four points of their own to tie things up at 24 and extend the match. However, when Capilano received their next match point at 25-24 they made no mistake, as Zalusky recorded another ace to close out the sweep.

Friesen, a PACWEST First Team All-Star last year, had 24 assists in the match, while rookie Jacob Hopkins was the main beneficiary with 10 kills. Zalusky had six kills to go along with a three blocks and two aces, while Yee recorded a team-high four aces. Friesen and Cameron Fay tied for the team-lead in digs with eight apiece.

On Saturday the Blues picked up where they left off, defeating Douglas 3-1 to start the young season 2-0. The Blues took the first set 25-17, totaling 14 kills while making just two errors, but dropped a close second frame 25-21. Capilano rebounded and regained their form in the third, taking that set 25-18 before closing out the match in the fourth with a 25-20 decision.

Friesen racked up 36 assists, 10 digs, and 3 blocks in the contest, while Yee posted 13 kills on a 0.706 hitting percentage. The Blues also recorded 14 blocks – four for Zalusky, and three apiece for Friesen, Hopkins, and Mattias Wels-Lopez.

After one weekend of PACWEST play, the Blues currently sit atop the PACWEST standings with a 2-0 record. They’re back in action next weekend when they travel to Abbotsford to take on the 1-1 University of the Fraser Valley Cascades; the games are at 8:00pm on Friday, October 20 and 7:00pm on Saturday, October 21, and both can be viewed on pacwestbc.tv.