Brent Mutis, CapU Sport Information & Compliance Officer
Of the Blues six teams, women's volleyball was the only one heading into the 2019-20 season with a new head coach.
Rob Gowe took the helm with the Blues women's team in June of 2019 with much of the roster already formed and recruited under the previous regime. A longtime figure in North Shore volleyball, Gowe was familiar with many of the players and set about creating a cohesive atmosphere founded on positive feedback and player development.
Defining roles and following Gowe's direction took a bit of time as the Blues dropped their first four matches of the season before getting in the win column with a road win Nov. 1 at the College of the Rockies.
Key in the adjusting to the new coach and system was the team's only fifth-year player, captain and outside hitter Meghan Koven. The North Vancouver native led the Blues in at least one major statistical category in 16 of the team's 24 matches and led the squad with 227 kills, the highest single-season total of her career. On top of that, she served as a calming influence and positive example to her teammates, 15 of whom were in their first or second year as college athletes.
After the 0-4 start, the Blues posted a 4-5 mark in November and saw rookie outside hitter Eva Nagata establish herself as a threat as she led the team in kills in six of the nine games for the month. The international from the Faroe Islands went for back-to-back 13-kill outings to close out November including an extremely impressive 15-point outing Nov. 29 where she notched two blocks and an ace in addition to her production on the attack.
Another positive rookie development was the play of middle blocker Olivia Humeston. The 6-foot native of Surrey led the Blues in blocks on nine occasions and was tops on the team in that category on the season. A six-solo-block outing by Humeston helped the team to its first win of the season and showed the Blues were developing a blocking scheme that was largely absent to start the campaign.
As the calendar flipped to 2020, Koven asserted herself with five double-digit kills matches including three in a row as the Blues ended January on a three-game win streak. February proved more difficult as the Blues traveled to Nanaimo to face the eventual national champion VIU Mariners. They dropped a straight-sets loss at Douglas College as well before concluding the regular season with a 3-1 win on Seniors Night when Koven was honoured for her five-year CapU career.
Entering the playoffs as a No. 6 seed, the Blues made some noise by upsetting tournament host Douglas College in the quarterfinals. Despite dropping the first set 25-10, CapU rallied behind second-year middle Jaylene Lucas who led the way with 14 kills, the first time she'd hit double digits on the season. The Blues played well again in the semifinals, pushing Camosun College to extra points in the final two sets but ultimately dropping a 3-0 decision.
Meghan Koven was the only Blues player to play her final year this season.
The 5-foot-10 outside hitter concludes her Blues career with 369 sets played (third all time), 846 digs (fourth all time) and 629 kills (fourth all time).
She was named the team MVP and earned CCAA Academic All-Canadian recognition for the first time.
"I think we were really just fired up and angry about our loss (Saturday) and we used that to come out a lot stronger than we did on the first day."
- Blues setter Kelsey Towers after helping rebound in a Nov. 9 home win over UFV
"I think it was a great way to celebrate Meghan tonight, lots of family and friends, including alumni and former teammates and of course Meghan ending the match with a big block."
- head coach Rob Gowe after a Seniors Night sendoff Feb. 15 for Meghan Koven and a 3-1 home win over Douglas College
"Kira Sutcliffe, Sarah Hughes, Kolby Richter, Kelsi Boroevich, Mika Chow. Those guys were really influential... I don't think I would have continued volleyball truthfully if I hadn't played with them."
- captain Meghan Koven reflecting on her five-year Blues career