Photo courtesy Northfield Photography
One day after they persevered in a five-set match to advance to the semi-finals, the Capilano University Blues battled in another thrilling game that went the distance, but fell 3 sets to 2 against the Douglas College Royals at the PACWEST Provincials at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo.
The match went right down to the very end, tied at 14 in the fifth set after Capilano rallied from two-points down to extend the game. Yet Douglas, the tournament’s #2 seed, rebounded and took the next two points – completing the win with a block at the net.
Capilano, the #3 seed who advanced to the semis with a comeback win over Camosun College on Thursday, got off to a bit of a slow start in the contest. Douglas used a high-powered attack that forced Cap into several free balls, and the Royals capitalized to build-up a 21-14 lead. The Blues briefly cut the lead down to five, but Douglas held on to take the first set 25-18.
The Blues responded in the second frame, as the play of their middles, Kolby Richter and Danae Shephard, helped turn the tide. A Richter ace with her float serve made it 11-8 for Cap and they didn’t look back, with two big blocks closing out a 25-18 win that evened up the contest.
Capilano kept up the pressure in the third set, but some fantastic digs by Douglas and some passing errors by Cap led to a 14-6 Royals lead and a Blues timeout. The pep talk seemed to spark the Blues, as they went on an 8-2 run and forced the Royals into a timeout of their own. The break didn’t stall the Cap rally, as with the score tied at 19, Sarah Hughes delivered an ace off the tape and Shephard came up with a block to give the Blues a two-point advantage. After Douglas stormed back to even things up at 23, Kelsi Boroevich delivered a kill to bring up set point, and after the Royals called a timeout, a Royals attack went long and Cap took the set.
The fourth set remained another close affair, as two Richter blocks made it 8-8, and another ace by her evened it up at 10. Capilano called a timeout after they fell behind 17-15, but another Richter block pulled the Blues back to within one. Yet with their season on the line, Douglas pulled together down the stretch and forced a final set with a 25-21 decision.
Hughes kicked off the fifth set with an ace, and Capilano jumped out to an early 4-1 lead. Douglas chipped away to even things up at six, and a big block at the net gave them an 8-7 lead at the switch. Tyneille Neufeld delivered back-to-back kills after the break to put Cap back in front, and a Richter ace after a timeout put them up 12-9.
In what proved to be the pivotal point of the match, Douglas went on a five-point run capped off by back-to-back aces that brought up set point. A timeout helped Capilano rally, as they took the next two points to tie it up at 14, but the Royals answered back with two-straight of their own to complete the come-from-behind win.
Capilano will now play in the bronze medal match-up tomorrow at 1:00 pm against the loser of the Vancouver Island University and College of the Rockies match. The Blues will look to win their third-straight bronze medal at the PACWEST Provincial Championships.