The Capilano University Blues men’s volleyball couldn’t finish their 2017-18 season on a winning note, as they fell short in a 3-1 loss to the Douglas College Royals in Saturday’s consolation final at the PACWEST Volleyball Championships.
The game featured high-powered attacks by both teams, but #5 seeded Douglas attacked at a more consistent rate and came up with some timely digs and blocks to limit Capilano’s offence. The #2 seeded Blues had moments where they responded with big points, but overall couldn’t find the consistency that led them to success all season long.
The Blues got off to a strong start in the first set and built up an early five-point lead on a Zarley Zalusky service run that featured two aces, but Douglas countered out of a timeout with a 6-1 run that tied the game at nine. Another Royals timeout with CapU ahead 19-16 again worked in their favour, as Douglas battled back and won a 25-23 decision to take the first set.
The second set went in Capilano’s favour, as the Blues held on to a small lead throughout the frame and finished strong down the stretch to secure a 25-20 victory and even the match.
Douglas came back in the third frame, and forced CapU into two early timeouts after the Blues fell behind early. The Royals’ defence held strong and prevented any glimpse of a comeback, and they won the game 25-20.
The fourth set followed a similar script, with the Blues again playing catch-up throughout the frame. They cut the deficit to within two late in the set, but a final push by Douglas put the game out of reach – giving them a 25-20 win in the set to earn the bronze.
Sameh Khodr was named Player of the Game for Capilano for the second-straight game, and was named a PACWEST Tournament All-Star. He recorded 14 kills and nine digs in the contest, while Zalusky had 11 kills and three aces. Libero Jonathan Lee tallied seven digs on defence, and setter Simon Friesen had 43 assists and eight digs.
It’s a tough end to a successful season for the CapU men’s volleyball team. The Blues had an 18-point turnaround from last season, going 19-5 and finishing second in the PACWEST – with the 19 wins tying for the most in a season in program history. They reached as high as #5 in the CCAA Rankings, and head coach Emmanuel Denguessi was named PACWEST Coach of the Year in his third season. This season’s roster featured only two players in their third-year of eligibility, with everyone else a second or first-year student-athlete.