CJ Pentland, CapU Sports Information Director / Photo Paul Yates, Vancouver Sports Pictures
After falling behind early, the Capilano University Blues men’s volleyball team found their stride midway through the first set and didn’t look back, powering their way to a 3-0 win over the College of the Rockies Avalanche on Thursday night in North Vancouver.
COTR quickly got ahead 11-4 in the first set, but an early timeout kick-started Capilano. The Blues started to chip away at the deficit, and midway through the frame they went on a run to take the lead. Zarley Zalusky then went on a service run that prompted two COTR timeouts, and CapU then closed out the game 25-21 to go up by a set.
Capilano carried over their momentum into the second, jumping out to a 7-2 advantage. They increased that lead to nine and forced another Avalanche timeout at 19-10, and Justin Mo came on as a sub and delivered back-to-back aces to deliver a 25-14 victory.
The Blues continued to attack in the third frame, firing spin serves that limited COTR’s attack. Capilano backed up their play with strong defense, making several tough passes to get the ball into setter Simon Friesen’s hands, who again orchestrated his team’s offence. The home side took the third set 25-21, completing the straight-sets win and winning their 11th set in a row dating back to October 14. They’ve dropped just one set all season, compared to 15 set wins.
Despite the win, head coach Emmanuel Denguessi didn’t believe it was his team’s best game of the season, and let the team know that there’s room for improvement. “I think that when you’re successful you tend to not realize how hard you have to work to win a game, and I think that College of the Rockies is one of those teams that came with a level of edge and enthusiasm that led them to play at their best,” said head coach Emmanuel Denguessi. “And if the team doesn’t react, as we tended to do today, we’re not going to meet that expectation.”
However, the coach still saw bright spots – highlighting the team’s serving, the passing from Friesen to Jacob Hopkins, and the team’s depth with guys like Mo coming off the bench to contribute. Hopkins sparked the offence with 11 kills on a 0.421 hitting percentage, while Jonathan Lee led the defence with nine digs. Zalusky and Kevin Chiu each recorded three aces on the night; the Blues tallied 12 aces and recorded 12 service errors, compared to the Avalanche's 3/19 ratio.
Capilano remains the only undefeated team in the PACWEST and improves to 5-0, while COTR falls to 0-3. The two teams will square off again tomorrow night in the Sportsplex, with first serve at 8:00pm.