The Capilano University Blues women’s volleyball team got back to their winning ways on Thursday night, as they battled to earn a straight-sets victory over the visiting University of the Fraser Valley Cascades. The win moves CapU up into third place in the PACWEST.
#11-ranked Capilano came into the contest tied with #7-ranked UFV at 20 points, but the Cascades held the tiebreaker having played two fewer games. The match was indicative of their position in the standings, as while the Blues were down during the second and third sets, they hung tough to earn the sweep in a tightly-played affair.
The first frame saw Capilano get out to an early lead, but UFV made a push to close the gap. The Blues answered back with a run of their own, and a kill from Anika Kolybaba closed out a 25-19 to put the home side in front.
The Cascades upped their play at the net to start the second set, as a number of blocks helped them build up an early advantage and force a CapU timeout down 8-3. The Blues responded with a push of their own, as better serving helped them claw back to tie things up at 12. The two teams then traded points, with Capilano calling a timeout down 19-18, and they answered with three-straight points to take their first lead of the set at 20-19.
UFV pushed back with three points of their own to go up 22-20, and forced set point at 24-22. Capilano took the next point to force UFV into a timeout, and then won the next two as well to force another timeout when up 25-24. The short break didn’t dispel the Blues, as they took care of business on set point to take the frame.
Capilano fell behind in the third frame as well, and called a timeout when down 10-8 and 16-13. A double substitution helped turn the tide out of the second timeout, as Zoe Dendes came on to serve and helped CapU come back and got up by two. The Blues then had match point at 24-20, and while the Cascades stayed alive and forced a timeout at 24-23, Capilano regrouped and won the next point to secure the victory.
“I didn’t think that we finished overly strong – I think we got a little tight at the end of that third set at 24 – but it’s a characteristic of our team that we can definitely come back,” said head coach Cal Wohlford.
“I think our strength is that we have a lot of spread out offence. They have to be worried about everybody, and I feel that it keeps them guessing a little bit. And we then have a very strong defence, and we’ve got some depth on our bench."
Eight different Blues recorded a kill on the night, with Emma Schill leading the way with 14. On defence, Tracy Ewashkiw tallied a team-high 14 digs, and Kolybaba and Courtney Becker each had two blocks.
The win improves Capilano to 11-7 on the season, and bumps them up into third place in the PACWEST. Fraser Valley falls to 10-7 and down to fourth. The two teams will face off for the fourth and final time this season on Saturday evening in North Vancouver, with first serve at 6:00pm.
“[Saturday] is going to be the day to decide [third place],” said Wohlford. “We can play stronger, play a little bit better. It’ll be a good match: I expect them to play better, and I expect us to play better.”