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Cap battles back to sweep COTR

Cap battles back to sweep COTR

CJ Pentland, CapU Sports Information Director / Photos Paul Yates, Vancouver Sports Pictures

The Capilano Blues (12-7) got off to a bit of a slow start on Saturday evening in North Vancouver, but after dropping the first set they rattled off three straight wins to take home a 3-1 victory over the visiting College of the Rockies Avalanche (7-12).

COTR took advantage of some Capilano mistakes in the first set, jumping out to an early eight-point lead and taking the first set 25-19. The Blues quickly regrouped for the second, grabbing an early lead of their own and evening up the match with a 25-18 decision.

A strong service game propelled the Blues to a convincing 25-15 win in the third to put them up a set, with Kelsi Boroevich and Kira Sutcliffe both recording multiple aces.

In the fourth it seemed that Cap would close out the win with ease, going up 10-3. But the Avalanche battled back to make it 14-13, and the set was soon tied at 21. After Capilano went up by one, Zoe Mydansky came on to serve and helped the Blues to match point – dropping one point before closing out the match to secure their fifth-straight victory.

“The key to our team is discipline. When we become very disciplined to what we’re doing, we’re a very good team because we have a lot offence in a lot of spots,” said head coach Cal Wohlford about his team’s in the second set onwards. “Our middles played great tonight – we had a lot of middle offence – and once the other team has to key on that, then it opens up for our outsides, and we’ve got two great power hitters, a great right-side hitter, and then our setter [Sarah Hughes] that can dump.

“I think that really turned on for us [in the second set]. I think in the fourth set we let off the gas a little bit, and with teams in the PACWEST you can’t – when teams get a little bit of breath they take advantage of it.”

The play of Boroevich and middle Danae Shephard stood out to Wohlford, with the setter Hughes getting praise for ability to spread the offence.

“The key person that makes everybody look good is Hughes. She moves the ball around and makes it very difficult for the other team.”

Hughes has 46 assists in Saturday's contest to go along with seven kills on setter dumps, while also recording 12 digs. The captain spread the ball around to give Tyneille Neufeld, Boroevich, and Sutcliffe double-digit kill totals, with all three also recording 10+ digs. 

The Blues kept rolling on Sunday afternoon in another closely contested affair, taking the first two sets and securing a 3-1 victory to win their sixth-straight game and improve to 13-5 in the regular season. 

Cap stormed back to tie the first set at 24 before they rattled off two straight points to take the first set 26-24, and in the second they again broke a late tie. Knotted at 21 the Blues pulled away, with a save off the net leading to a big point that put them up by two and led them to the 25-22 set win.

COTR kept the game alive with a 25-20 win in the third set, but Capilano buckled down to close out the match in the fourth. Backed by a strong Hughes service game at the end of the frame, the Blues again broke away in a tightly-contested set to close out the weekend sweep.

Hughes nearly duplicated her Saturday stats with 45 assists and 11 digs, though COTR picked up on the dumps to limit her to just one. 

"Not only was her setting choices and distribution a key success for us, but her leadership when we were behind to pull us back and win those sets was huge," said Wohlford. "She was our quarterback, and led the way to continue our undefeated record in this back half of the season."

Neufeld chipped in to lead the Blues with 15 kills on the afternoon, while Meghan Koven showed well on defence with 13 digs.

Capilano will look to extend their win streak next weekend when they travel to the island and take on the top-ranked team in the CCAA, Vancouver Island University. The third-place Blues sit just four points back of the Mariners in the PACWEST standings, and two wins would bring the Blues into a tie for first place.