CJ Pentland, CapU Sports Information Director
The Capilano Blues and Camosun Chargers battled in a close, high-powered affair on Friday night in North Vancouver, and it was CapU who came out on top to claim a 3-0 victory over the three-time defending PACWEST champs.
Each set was tightly-contested and had several lead changes, but each time the Blues went on a run late to close out victories. Both teams delivered high-powered attacks and made some great plays at the net on both sides of the ball, but Capilano’s ability to keep plays alive on defense proved pivotal. Jonathan Lee had another fantastic game at libero with several diving saves, and their passing helped get the ball into the hands of setter Simon Friesen, who orchestrated the offence.
Capilano got down early in the first set, and trailed 21-18 late in the frame, but they battled back and won the next eight points on a Friesen service run and won it 25-21 on a kill from Cameron Fay.
The second set followed the same trajectory. CapU called a timeout down 7-3, but regrouped to tie things up at 12 and built up a four-point lead on a Justin Yee service run – forcing a Camosun timeout at 20-16. The Blues kept rolling out of the regroup, as an ace from Friesen closed out a 25-20 victory.
Capilano didn’t let up in the third set, as they continued to stand tall to a powerful Camosun offence. Friesen spread the ball around and mixed in a couple setter dumps, and all members of the Capilano attack made contributions. Camosun called a timeout at 21-18 and stormed back to force one by CapU at 23-22, but the Blues responded at 23-23 with kills from Fay and Zarley Zalusky to close out the match in straight sets.
“What we were able to do today is put [Camosun] out of their system, and establish our game. And that creates frustration on the other side,” said head coach Emmanuel Denguessi. “When it comes to player-to-player we dominated, because Simon as a setter is very accurate, Zarley and Mattias [Wels-Lopez] in the middle are very solid, and you have Justin and Kevin [Chiu] on the side who are very consistent, … and we were able to establish our passing and win the game.”
Capilano's midldles were extremely efficient in the game, as Zalusky led the Blues with 11 kills on 13 attacks for a sparkling 0.846 hitting percentage, while Wels-Lopez tallied 9 at a 0.750 clip. Both also recorded two blocks on the night, while Lee had a game-high 12 digs.
In the service game, the Blues fired seven aces - with Yee leading the way with three - and made seven errors, while the Chargers had just one ace and made eight miscues. CapU also attacked at a combined 0.275 percentage, compared to 0.125 for Camosun.
Capilano improves to 10-1 on the season, while Camosun falls to 2-7. The two teams will rematch tomorrow afternoon in the Sportsplex, with first serve at 3:00pm.
“Tomorrow it’ll be a matter of coming and executing our strategy, which is again pressure on serve, accuracy on first contact, and maximizing our middle play," said Dengussi.