After a couple close losses to start off their week, the Capilano Blues stormed out of the gate on Saturday afternoon and delivered a strong win over the third-place Camosun Chargers at the Sportsplex in North Vancouver.
The Blues scored the first five points of the match to force the Chargers into an early timeout, and kept up the pressure throughout the set to get ahead with a 25-16 win in the first set. The second frame was a closer affair, but Camosun pulled ahead late and tied up the game with a three-point win.
The third set was all Capilano. Powered by the booming serve of Sameh Khodr, the Blues jumped out to a commanding 11-1 advantage and didn’t look back, taking it 25-14. The power serves, big blocks, and great saves continued in the fourth set, as Cap closed it out in four with a 25-19 victory.
Kevin Chiu capped off a dominant weekend with a team-high 14 kills in the match to go along with 10 digs and two aces. Khodr also hit double digits in both categories with 12 and 16, in addition to three aces, while Simon Friesen racked up 18 digs and two aces while leading the offence out of the setter position.
The win came on the heels of a comeback effort that fell just short against Camosun on Friday evening. In the first set of the night on Friday, Cap was ahead 24-23 and looked poised to take the early lead, but the Chargers clawed back and came away with a 27-25 win.
After Camosun took the second set as well, they looked destined for a sweep as they went up by six. Yet the Blues didn’t quit, rallying to stay alive with a 25-20 set win. In the fourth, neither team led by more than two points, with it tied at 19 before Cap took a late lead and forced a fifth-and deciding set with a 25-23 advantage. The fifth set was also a back-and-forth affair, but Camosun persevered with a 17-15 win to take the match.
Chiu had 23 kills in the match, and Justin Yee padded the scoresheet with 12 kills, 13 digs, five aces, and two blocks. Libero Jonathan Lee also had 20 digs.
“I think the big difference was in our execution, and I think if you look at yesterday we had opportunities to score but not justifying those opportunities. But today was the total opposite,” said CapU head coach Emmanuel Denguessi after Saturday’s win.
“Today our serve was very strong on our side, and they were not able to establish their offence. And just our confidence level – the talk yesterday in the locker room was to appreciate the feeling that they have after losing a game, and to transfer that into a fighting spirit. So I think that’s what they were able to do, and you can see that in the result.”
The Blues (9-12) have three more games left in the regular season, and have the ability to finish as high as fourth in the PACWEST. Their next contest comes Tuesday, February 14 against VIU, who took down Cap on Thursday evening in Nanaimo in four sets. Earlier this season, Cap handed the Mariners one of their only two losses on the season.
The final two games go next weekend against Douglas College, who the Blues are chasing in the standings. The last home contest is on Saturday, February 18 at 8 p.m. at the Sportsplex in North Vancouver.