CJ Pentland, CapU Sports Information Director / Photo Paul Yates, Vancouver Sports Pictures
In a closely-contested match that looked to go either way, the Capilano University Blues women’s volleyball pulled together down the stretch to take a 3-1 decision over the College of the Rockies Avalanche on home court on Thursday night.
CapU struggled with consistency in the first set and fell behind early, but a timeout at 8-12 rallied the Blues and forced COTR to take a timeout of their own. The Avalanche remained ahead by a few points, but Capilano responded out of another timeout at 23-21 and tied things up at 23 on an ace from Meghan Koven. The two teams then traded points up until 27-27, where the Avalanche took advantage of a couple miscues to take the opening frame 29-27.
The second set saw more back-and-forth play, with neither team able to build a lead of more than a couple points. It wasn’t until rookie setter Zoe Dendes checked in and went on a service run when Capilano increased their lead up to 20-16, and they took care of business from that point on to even up the match with a 25-21 set win. Mackenzy Sparks-Guest also drew praise from her coach for her strong serving, which helped turn the tide in Cap’s favour.
"I think that’s the beauty of our team: that we have depth to our bench,” said head coach Cal Wohlford. “Everybody’s going to get opportunities to play, we can use different things to give them a different look, and people can play in different spots. That’s going to be our style of team ... sometimes when coaches sub off a player it’s a little bit more like you chased someone out, but with us we’re going to have a good variety of different mixes.”
Capilano continued to hold the edge in the in the third, with some great defensive saves helping them maintain a slight edge. COTR kept things close and pushed the game to 24-23, but a kill from Emma Schill eliminated any potential comeback and gave CapU the 2-1 lead.
The Blues built up a bit more comfortable of a lead in the fourth, going ahead 8-2. They maintained that margin up until the end of the frame when COTR went on a late run to cut the lead to 23-21 – forcing a Capilano timeout – but the Blues regrouped to take the next two points to close out the match.
“I think we started off really flat and slow, and we still had chances to win that first set. But I think after that we slowly got on page to where in the fourth set I thought that we controlled the situation,” said Wohlford.
Three Blues – Schill, Isabela Lima, and Tyneille Neufeld – reached double figure in kills, with Schill leading the way with 18. Schill played one of her best all-around games of the year, also tallying 24 digs and three aces. Koven also posted strong stats across the board, with nine digs, four aces, and three blocks.
The Blues improve to 3-2 on the season, while the Avalanche fall to 2-1. The two teams rematch on Friday night in North Vancouver, with first serve at 6:00pm.