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Blues outlast Chargers in five sets

Second-year outside hitter Jacob Hopkins rises up for a hit. Photo Paul Yates / Vancouver Sports Pictures
Second-year outside hitter Jacob Hopkins rises up for a hit. Photo Paul Yates / Vancouver Sports Pictures

CJ Pentland, CapU Sports Information Director

In a high-powered, back-and-forth affair, the CCAA #12 ranked CapU Blues men’s volleyball team outlasted the #7 Camosun College Chargers to pick up a crucial two points with a 3-2 win on Friday night in North Vancouver.

The two sides traded convincing victories in the opening two sets, and both teams had multiple opportunities at match point in the fifth and deciding frame. The Blues held an 8-4 lead at the switch and then had three chances to close out the contest up 14-11, but Camosun won the next four points to bring up a match point of their own.

Neither team budged until 17-17, when Camosun made an attacking error and were subsequently penalized a point after the official issued a red card for rude conduct – giving CapU the win.

“It was a bit of a see-saw battle tonight; kinda like a heavyweight fight where both are exchanging blows,” said CapU head coach Dave Dooley. “In the first set we delivered the first and then we bounced back and forth from there: second to them, third to us, fourth to them. We strung together two and a half good sets of volleyball, which luckily was enough to win tonight – but the guys need to be better and more consistent throughout the whole five sets.

“We had swings for match point in the fifth set that we didn’t put away, we had passes for match point that we didn’t put away, so we’re going to be better tomorrow night and execute on those important balls.”

The Blues had another well-rounded effort on both sides of the ball, with players from up-and-down the roster contributing. Justin Yee had another strong game with 12 kills, while Jacob Hopkins and Zarley Zalusky both had nine kills on a .500 hitting percentage as well as two blocks apiece. Rookie outside hitter Nikita Marchenkov also made an impact off the bench when the team was down late in the fourth set, helping the Blues carry some momentum into the final frame.

“His little Aussie passion has the potential to change the rhythm of a match, and he came in and really disrupted them a little bit, put them off kilter,” said Dooley. “He brings a lot of emotion, and what we were looking for at that point was to build off something positive, and he gave us that something positive.”

The victory improves CapU to 11-5 on the season and into sole possession of third place in the PACWEST, two points behind Camosun with two games in hand. The Blues have now also defeated each team in the conference this season, as the Chargers had won the teams’ prior two meetings back in November in Victoria. The sides will rematch for the fourth and final time this regular season on Saturday at 3:00pm at the Centre for Sport and Wellness in North Vancouver.