CJ Pentland, CapU Sport Information Director
Looking to wrap up first place in the PACWEST with a win, the Capilano University Blues men’s volleyball team dropped a tense 3-2 match to the CCAA #3 ranked Douglas College on Saturday night in New Westminster. With the loss the Blues finish the regular season 18-6 and in third place in the conference.
#9 ranked CapU had won all three of the teams’ prior meeting this season – handing first place Douglas three of their four losses – and a win on Saturday would’ve leapfrogged them into first place thanks to holding the tiebreaker. The match proved to be another back-and-forth affair with neither side able to string together two set wins in a row, leading to a fifth set to decide who wins top spot.
It was the Royals who claimed an early two-point advantage in the final frame that they didn’t relinquish, slowly extending their lead to close out a 15-10 victory.
Capilano’s middles played well in the contest, as Markiel Simpson had 12 kills on a .556 hitting percentage to go along with 1.5 blocks and an ace, and Zarley Zalusky had 11 kills on a .444 percentage and 2.5 blocks. Setter Simon Friesen had three blocks to go along with 32 assists, and Markus Bratsberg had 11 digs and four kills.
As the #3 seed, CapU will face #6 Columbia Bible College in the quarterfinals of the PACWEST Championships, hosted by the College of the Rockies in Cranbrook from February 21 to 23. The last time COTR hosted the championships was 2012-13, which is also the last season that the Blues won gold.
The Blues won all four meetings against CBC this season, with the most recent matchup happening on February 9. First serve is at 2:00pm PST on Thursday, February 21, and the game can be viewed online at pacwestbc.tv.
Several CapU players finished the season on the PACWEST stat leaderboards:
Digs: Jonathan Lee topped the digs leaderboard for the second time in three seasons, averaging 2.60/set, and Markus Bratsberg was 13th with 1.56/set.
Kills: three Blues finished in the top 15: Jacob Hopkins in 9th at 2.15/set, Bratsberg in 11th at 2.00, and Zarley Zalusky in 13th at 1.97.
Aces: Simon Friesen was 8th in service aces with an average of 0.47/set.
Blocks: Zalusky finished 9th in blocks with 0.31/set.
Total Offence: Zalusky cracked the top 10 with 2.56 points per set, and Hopkins finished 14th with 2.32.
PACWEST conference awards will be announced on Wednesday as part of the lead-up to the championships. Check back to athletics.capilanou.ca for info on all award winners.