Brent Mutis, CapU Sport Information & Compliance Officer
Despite their 12-game win streak being snapped, there were lots of positives to take away for the Capilano Blues men's volleyball team from their weekend road trip and split with the Camosun College Chargers.
The Blues rallied to take Friday's opener 3-2 before dropping Saturday's contest by the same score.
In Friday's match, the Blues found themselves in what is unfamiliar territory lately, down two sets to one and having been dispatched 25-15 in the third set. With the home crowd sensing a Chargers win, the Blues found the reply they needed in the fourth set as they dug deep for a 25-23 win to force a fifth set which they also took, 15-10.
The Blues showcased their depth in the gutsy fourth set win, getting kills from six different players. It was something of a statement for Capilano who had been forced to play more than three sets just three times during the streak.
"To play well (in the postseason) is always on our minds and the difficult five-setters we got this weekend showed us what we need to work on and how we need to improve our game," said Blues left side Ben Friesen. "It's important to learn how to battle and the weekend had two really tough games so we will be better for it when the postseason comes around."
Friesen had 12 kills on the night and fellow Blues big hitter Rafael Hilario racked up a season-high 21 kills, hitting .300 for the night. He'd match that output on Saturday and hit .341. It was a pair of Hilario kills that started the Blues rally Friday after they'd fallen behind 10-5.
Blues head coach Dave Dooley appreciated his team being tested and showing their character since the winning streak feature several straight-sets wins and just three where a fourth set was needed.
"This weekend was an excellent example of battling through funks and winning by committee," said Dooley. "While we didn't play our best ball, the guys showed tremendous resiliency on multiple occasions."
Capilano found themselves down two sets to one again on Saturday and again they forced a fifth set thanks to seven kills from Hilario. They couldn't quite pull off the comeback for a second day though, dropping the fifth set 15-9.
"I don't think we played our best either day but different players off the bench provided a lift for our guys, contributing when we really needed it," said Dooley.
With 11 kills and 14 points of total offence, Serbian international Dimitrije Djordjevic had his most productive weekend in Blues colours while Enis Besirevic had a season-best eight kills Friday along with three solo blocks. Simon Friesen registered 87 assists for the weekend, including 46 in Friday's win.
The Blues have a Thursday-Friday home-and-home set this week against Columbia Bible College. Friday's game is an 8 p.m. start at CapU.