CJ Pentland, CapU Sport Information Director
The Capilano University Blues men’s volleyball team stormed out of the gate in their semifinal match of the PACWEST Championship, but couldn’t maintain their momentum and dropped a 3-1 decision to the Camosun College Chargers on Friday afternoon in Cranbrook. The Blues will now play for bronze on Saturday afternoon.
The opening set was all CapU, as they carried over their strong serving from Thursday’s quarterfinal win. Setter Simon Friesen had three of the team’s five aces in the set, and their powerful spin serves disrupted the #2 seeded Chargers and carried them to a convincing 25-16.
The #3 seed Blues continued to roll at the start of the second, jumping out to an early 5-1 lead on a Markiel Simpson service run. But the Chargers quickly responded with a run of their own, tying the game at six and thenbuilding up an 11-7 lead to force a Blues timeout. CapU couldn’t find an answer over the rest of the way, as they had 10 attack errors in the set and dropped a 25-18 decision.
The pivotal third set went down to the wire, as the Blues clawed back from a four-point deficit to pull within one point at 24-23. Yet again the four-time defending champion Chargers had an answer, winning the next point to win the set and take a 2-1 lead.
Capilano’s offence continued to be stymied by Camosun’s strong play at the net in the fourth set, and they also had seven service errors in the frame. After falling behind early they made a push mid-way through the set to close to within four points, but they couldn’t overcome the deficit – dropping the set 25-19 and the match 3-1.
Jacob Hopkins had a team-high 12 kills for CapU and was named the team’s Player of the Game. Simpson added 11 kills on a .412 hitting percentage, and Jonathan Lee and Zarley Zalusky led the defensive effort – with Lee totaling 10 digs and Zalusky recording 3.5 blocks.
The Blues now set their sights on Saturday’s bronze medal match, where they’ll face the loser of the other semifinal between Douglas College and Vancouver Island University. It marks the second season that CapU has been in the consolation match, and they’ll be looking for their first PACWEST medal since winning gold in 2012-13. First serve will be at 2:00pm PST, and it can be streamed online at pacwestbc.tv.