CJ Pentland, CapU Sport Information Director
The Capilano University Blues men's volleyball team won their first medal in six seasons on Saturday afternoon, defeating the top-seeded Douglas College Royals 3-0 to claim the bronze medal at the PACWEST Championships in Cranbrook. The win avenges last season's defeat to Douglas in the consolation final, and makes it matching bronze medals for both the men's and women's teams at the tournament.
The #3 seeded Blues had a balanced attack led by Justin Yee and his eight kills and four blocks. Both Markiel Simpson and Zarley Zalusky each had six kills, and Zalusky added three blocks. Fourth-year setter Simon Friesen was named the Player of the Match with 26 assists, four digs, three kills and a stuff block, and he was later named to the Tournament All-Star team.
"It was obviously a little disappointing [to lose in the semis] last night, and the bronze medal match can be a tough one to play, so it's nice to see that the boys were really dialed in and doing their homework, and really going to work on our game plan and executing it," said head coach Dave Dooley, who wins a medal in his first season with CapU. "If we would've had that spirit yesterday I think it would've been a different story."
CapU attacked at an efficient .414 percentage, making just eight errors compared to 35 kills. Six different players had at least three kills, and on the service line four separate Blues had an ace.
"For us [the key] was just execution on the offensive side. We play very well defensively and pass very well, and yesterday we failed to execute -- our outside attackers in particular -- and today they did a much better job," said Dooley.
CapU continued to have Douglas' number this season, improving to 4-1 against them. The top-ranked Royals struggled to find an offensive flow for the second straight day; Reid Marriott led all attackers with 12 kills and also tallied an ace and four digs, and rookie Max Haronga was named the Player of the Match with nine kills, two aces and three blocks.
The medal is Capilano's first since winning gold back in 2012-13, and is the first bronze in program history. They have previously won three PACWEST golds and one silver to go along with two CCAA national silver medals.
"It feels great. I think it was a really good team win," said Friesen after the win. "We worked really hard this season, so it's good to have something to show for the season. [Our key] was to talk a lot and be the loudest team on the floor; that's kind of our game style, and it worked for us today as well."
With files from the PACWEST