CJ Pentland, CapU Sports Information Director / Photos Paul Yates, Vancouver Sports Pictures
After a tough defeat on the road against the Douglas College Royals on Friday evening, the Capilano Blues returned home for their final home game of the regular season and bounced back with a 3-1 win to head into Provincials on a winning note.
Though Friday’s contest was a sweep in favour of the Royals, each set went right down to the wire, with scores of 29-27, 25-22, and 26-24. Justin Yee led the way for the Blues in the contest with 11 kills and 10 digs to go along with two blocks and two aces.
On Saturday the Blues got down early in the first set, yet a quick regroup turned the tide for the rest of the match. Capilano took the first set 25-22 and then coasted to a 25-17 victory in the second frame, though a comeback by Douglas in the third got them on the board and extended the match.
Cap didn’t lose focus, though, and shut down a potential Royals comeback, taking control in the fourth set to win it 25-17 and secure the four-set victory.
“Our level of confidence is what made a difference, especially at critical moments of the game,” said head coach Emmanuel Denguessi after Saturday's game. “I think the difference between yesterday and today was in those moments. I thought yesterday we played better, but we were not able to seal the game. But today the guys were confident and executing, and also very disciplined in terms of blocking and defence.”
Yee capped off a strong weekend and strong rookie campaign with another well-rounded effort of 16 digs, 11 kills, four blocks, and two aces. Yee started the season as a setter but moved to the right side, and burst onto the PACWEST scene to sit among the conference leaders in most offensive categories.
In a return from injury, Zarley Zalusky made an immediate impact at the middle position with 11 kills and six blocks. Sameh Khodr also hit double-digits in kills with 14, while libero Jonathan Lee led the way in digs with 25.
The Blues finish the PACWEST regular season at 10-14 and in sixth place with 20 points. They will take on the #3 seed Camosun College Chargers in the first round of provincials -- the two-time defending champions. While Camosun won the season series 3-1, Cap took their last meeting in four sets, and two of the losses came in five sets.
“Our assignment this week will be to analyze [Camosun],” said Denguessi. “I think it will be a very good game, and I'm confident that we're going to do well.”
The match-up goes at 3:00 pm on Thursday, February 23 at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo. The game can be viewed online at pacwestbc.tv.