CJ Pentland, CapU Sports Information Director / Photos courtesy Northfield Photography
In a thrilling five-set match that went back-and-forth, and then back-and-forth again a few more times, it was the Capilano Blues who pulled together with their season on the line and delivered a come-from-behind 3-2 win over the Camosun College Chargers on Thursday afternoon at the PACWEST Provincials at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo.
The first point of the game was a rally that lasted nearly a minute, and it set the tone for the rest of the two-and-half hour match. There was never a lead of more than one until Camosun went up 10-8, and when they pushed their lead to 12-9, Cap called a quick timeout. The Blues responded to tie it up at 12, and after Camosun again went up by three, the Blues chipped away to even the score at 18.
With the score 20-19, Sarah Hughes delivered a big block to put Cap up by two, and then delivered a kill off the block to make it 22-19. Two points later, Tyneille Neufeld finished off the set with a kill and gave Cap the early advantage.
The second set proved even closer than the first. The teams traded points nearly the whole match, all the way up to 19-19 when a Kira Sutcliffe kill and Keeley Bell ace put Cap up by two. Camosun called a timeout, which rallied the Chargers to put them up 23-22 – but a Kolby Richter block quickly tied it back up.
Camosun then had set point at 25-24, before Cap head coach Cal Wohlford called a timeout that led to a Camosun service error when play resumed. Both sides then continued to trade points – with the Blues have three different set points – but it was Camosun who persevered to win the set 31-29 and even up the match.
Capilano got down early in the third set, trailing by as much as five, but battled back to tie it up at 19. Yet it was Camosun who pulled together down the stretch in this set, winning it 25-20 and putting them on the brink of victory.
It looked as if the Chargers would have no problem finishing off the game, as they went up 11-4 to start the set. But with their season on the line, Capilano regrouped – taking advantage of some Camosun errors, and using a strong Hughes service run to even up the game at 14. Another Richter block broke a 16-16 deadlock, and a Sutcliffe serving run put them up 21-18.
Camosun again didn’t quit – coming out of a timeout with three-straight points to even it back up. After the sides traded points made it 23, the Blues took advantage of a Chargers miscue on set point and took the frame 25-23 to force a fifth and final set.
And in fitting fashion, the last set went down to the wire. Camosun went into the break ahead 8-7 and won the next point to go up by two, but a Neufeld block helped even it up at nine. At 11-11, Capilano forced the Chargers to hit long on two-straight possessions, and didn’t look back – losing just one more point over the rest of the way and clinching a thrilling 15-12 set win and 3-2 match victory.
Hughes was named Player of the Game for Capilano, as the captain’s setting, blocking, and serving were instrumental in leading the comeback.
The Blues now take on the Douglas College Royals in tomorrow’s provincial semi-finals. The Royals finished the regular season with identical 17-7 records, but owned the tiebreaker over CapU due to their 3-1 head-to-head record; however, Capilano won their last meeting, which was last weekend.
The game is at 1:00 pm at Vancouver Island University, and can be viewed online at pacwestbc.tv. The winner will advance to the PACWEST final on Saturday evening.