The Capilano University Blues men’s volleyball ended their successful regular season with a pair of wins, taking down the Douglas College Royals twice this past weekend in New Westminster. CapU finishes the regular season in second place with a 19-5 record and 38 points – a 20 point improvement over last season.
Friday’s contest went the full five sets, with Capilano nearly setting another record for longest set in CCAA history. The Blues and Vancouver Island University Mariners set the record earlier this season with a 44-42 set score back in November, and the Blues and Royals almost eclipsed it in the third set before Capilano finally closed out a 43-41 decision. With the match tied at 1-1, both sides made some incredible saves on defence to keep plays alive, but it was CapU who prevailed to take a crucial 2-1 lead.
Douglas responded to take the fourth set 25-14 and force a fifth and final frame, which also went the distance and beyond. The Blues staved off a couple match points after the score reached 15-15, and pulled together over the final points to secure an 18-16 win the game to take the match.
The Blues were dominant at the net, recording 31 total blocks – 15 more than their previous high this season; Mattias Wels-Lopez led the way with a career-high seven, while Zarley Zalusky and Simon Friesen both had six and Jacob Hopkins totaled five. CapU also recorded 59 total digs, with Sameh Khodr leading the way with 16 and Jonathan Lee tallying 13.
On offence, Capilano attacked at a 0.372, with Friesen spreading the ball around and recording 63 assists. Four different players reached double-figures in kills, with Khodr recording 29 on a 0.475 percentage and Wels-Lopez, Zalusky, and Cameron Fay all totaling 10.
The Blues took care of business in four sets on Saturday night (25-18, 25-20, 18-25, 25-19) to complete the weekend sweep. CapU was again efficient on offence – recording a 0.427 hitting percentage – and strong at the net with 15 blocks compared to five for Douglas. Zalusky led the way with five, giving him 11 over the two games and moving him into fifth in the PACWEST for blocks per set (0.64).
Khodr again led the team in kills with 16, and Zalusky had 14 on a 0.667 hitting percentage. Lee and Fay tied for the team-high in digs with eight.
The 19 regular season wins tie a program record for Capilano – equaling the 2004-05 team who went 19-1 and won Provincial gold and a silver medal at CCAA Nationals.
With their second place finish, Capilano receives a first-round bye at next weekend’s PACWEST Championships, hosted by the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford. The Blues will face the winner of the quarterfinal matchup between #3 Camosun College and #6 College of the Rockies at 3:00pm on Friday, February 24 at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre. All games can be viewed online at pacwestbc.tv.
Capilano will need to win gold at the Championships to earn a berth at the CCAA Nationals, as Camosun has earned an automatic berth as the host institution. The Blues have won three Provincial golds since the program’s inception in 1998-99, having last won in 2012-13.