CJ Pentland, CapU Sports Information Director / Photos Paul Yates, Vancouver Sports Pictures
They stormed out of the gate, hit a bit of a lull, and then battled back. After going down 2 sets to 1 against the College of the Rockies Avalanche, the Capilano Blues stormed back and came from behind to pull out a five-set victory in North Vancouver on Saturday night.
The Blues took over at the start, building up a 12-2 lead that soon became 18-3, and taking the first set 25-11. Cap looked poised to take a two-set lead with the score tied at 22 in the second frame, but COTR rallied down the stretch to even up the game at 1-1. Capilano again played catch-up in the third set, getting to within one point at multiple moments, but the Avalanche pulled away at the end to go ahead by a set.
The fourth set saw multiple service errors on each side, which led to a back-and-forth frame, but some big blocks helped put the Blues in front 15-11. COTR came back to tie it up at 18, but Cap allowed just one point over the rest of the way to take it 25-19 and force a fifth and deciding set.
The Blues only allowed five more points over the rest of the way, storming out to a 10-3 advantage and closing out a 15-5 decision in the fifth to record the five-set victory.
“A big factor in our victory was confidence,” said head coach Emmanuel Denguessi. “The first set we won because we played free, we played very intense, and we took risks. After that we started to play safe, and against every single team that can establish their offence it’s difficult. We took back our confidence in the fifth set and it was reflected by the score.”
Justin Yee and Sameh Khodr paced the Blues offence on Saturday, recording 15 and 14 kills, respectively. Khodr also picked up 16 digs on the evening, reaching double-figures along with Simon Friesen's 19 and Jonathan Lee's 14.
On Sunday afternoon, Cap picked up where they left off and coasted to a straight-sets victory over the Avalanche to secure a perfect weekend. The Blues kept the Avs under 20 points in all three frames -- again exuding the confidence that Denguessi said was the key to Friday's come-from-behind win.
Yee again had a strong match, leading the way with nine kills while again delivering four aces. Lee and Friesen both hit double-digts in digs, and Kevin Chiu fired four aces despite playing in just one set.
The weekend sweep proves pivotal for Cap in the PACWEST standings, as they move ahead of COTR and sit in a tie for fifth place with Douglas College at 8-10 (16 points). The Blues have a tough test in store next weekend when they travel to the island to take on first-place Vancouver Island University -- though it's a place where Cap went earlier this year and emerged with a comeback five-set victory, before falling in five sets the next night. The games go Friday, February 3 at 6 p.m. and Saturday, February 4 at 3 p.m.; both games can be viewed on pacwestbc.tv.