The Capilano University Blues men’s volleyball team welcomed the CCAA #3 ranked Vancouver Island University Mariners to North Vancouver on Friday night, and came away with a 3-2 win to improve to 5-0 on the season.
After letting a late lead slip away in the first set and dropping it 25-23, the Blues answered back with identical 25-22 wins in the next two frames to take the lead. Yet CapU let the visitors back in the game in the fourth, taking their foot off the gas pedal and losing a 25-15 decision that sent the match to a fifth set.
Capilano got back on track in the fifth set and staked an early lead, and while VIU staved off set point three times, the Blues buckled down and secured the match 15-13 on a kill by Jacob Hopkins.
“One of the messages is that we keep learning these little lessons, and keep still coming away with a victory – and often people wait until losses to learn these lessons,” said head coach Dave Dooley. “It happened last weekend against CBC, and then tonight in the fourth set when they don’t play their big guns and we think ‘this is going to be easy’ – so we kinda relax mentally, and that’s something you can’t do. That’s a good team and a deep team; they were able to beat us with their best set score without their top two guys.”
The Blues received solid contributions from across the roster, specifically from second-year middle Max Clarke who delivered some timely kills. He finished with seven kills on eight attacks for an efficient .875 hitting percentage.
“They really had an awesome game plan against [last year’s first-team all star] Zarley [Zalusky], and Zarley struggled as a result – their big middle did a good job of slowing him down – and we needed that internal volume, and Max brought that for us,” said Dooley. “He did an awesome job winning some big points, and for Simon [Friesen] to have that trust to go with him was huge.”
Markiel Simpson also stepped up in his first full game at left side, passing the ball well and recording seven kills. Friesen, last week’s CCAA Male Athlete of the Week, distributed 30 assists at setter, and Hopkins led the team with 10 kills.
The Blues and Mariners rematch tomorrow afternoon, with first serve at 3:00pm in the Centre for Sport and Wellness.