The Capilano University Blues men’s volleyball team went toe-to-toe with the three-time defending PACWEST champs on Friday afternoon, but fell short in a 3-1 loss to the Camosun College Chargers in the semifinals of the PACWEST Championships.
The two high-powered teams went at each other from the get go – trading kills and going point-for-point until Camosun took two in a row to go ahead 14-12. The #3 seed Chargers remained in front until a rotation error made it 17-17, and the #2 seed Blues then took their first lead of the set at 20-19.
Camosun answered back to retake the lead at 21-20, and Capilano was forced into a late timeout down 23-22. They couldn’t rally out of the huddle, as Camosun won the next two points to claim a 25-22 decision and take the first frame.
The second set saw Capilano break open a 7-7 deadlock and not look back. A Mattias Wels-Lopez service run helped the Blues push their lead to four, and an improved defensive effort limited Camosun’s powerful offensive attack. CapU continued to extend their lead throughout the frame, and won the game 25-17 to even up the match.
The Chargers responded by winning the first three points of the third set, and while the Blues bounced back to tie it 4-4, they couldn’t claim the lead for their own over the rest of the way. Camosun slowly pulled away over the remainder of the frame, and a late Capilano timeout couldn’t stem the tide – with the Chargers taking the pivotal third set 25-19.
Capilano stormed back in the fourth, as a powerful service run from Zarley Zalusky built up a 6-2 lead. Camosun quickly answered back, and chipped away to take the lead at 14-13 and force a Blues timeout. The deficit then became three, but a block, a Sameh Khodr ace, and another block helped Capilano even things up at 16.
The set remained close down the stretch and was tied 20-20 before Camsoun won two points in a row – and it was a deficit that CapU couldn’t overcome. Despite fighting off one match point at 24-22, Camosun’s offence stepped and delivered a kill on the next point to claim a 25-23 win and close out the match.
Khodr was named Player of the Game for Capilano after tallying 13 kills. Zalusky also had 13 to go along with three blocks, while Jacob Hopkins also had three stuffs and PACWEST Player of the Year Simon Friesen recorded 37 assists.
The Blues will now play for bronze against the loser of the Douglas College and Vancouver Island University match-up in the other semifinal. Game-time for that match-up is at 3:00pm at the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford.