Brent Mutis, CapU Sport Information & Compliance Officer
With their first five-set win of the season, the Capilano Blues women's volleyball team has now won three straight games and are starting to show some of the character needed to be a playoff team in the PACWEST.
The Blues traveled to the University of the Fraser Valley Friday and scored a 3-2 win over the Cascades, getting a season-high 22 digs from Vanesa Gatto as well as a season-best eight kills from Jaylene Lucas.
Capilano rallied from an early deficit in the first set and ran off seven of eight points late in the set to claim a 25-18 win. They started slowly in the second set as well and never really recovered but in the third set, they displayed some steel in a tense back-and-forth exchange that the home side led 22-21 at one point. That was when consecutive kills from setter Kelsey Towers and hitters Meghan Koven and Eva Nagata tilted things back the Blues way and they prevailed in an extra-points win.
A late run of kills by UFV's Amanda Matsui gave the fourth set to the Cascades but in the deciding set, again the Blues displayed their mettle scoring six points in a row to overcome a two-point deficit and earn the win. They made just one attack error in the fifth set compared to five for UFV.
"The team's resiliency is improving," said Blues head coach Rob Gowe. "When things go sideways, it's not such a big deal and they keep fighting for every point."
Koven again led the way on the attack with 14 kills and 15 points of offence while Nagata and Daphiny Kung chipped in seven kills apiece. Despite just one block, executed in tandem by Towers and Lucas, team defence was sound as five different players got into double digits in digs.
"I think their belief in themselves is growing with some moments of doubt here and there but (Friday's win) helped," said Gowe.
It was the only game of the weekend for the Blues who now have a big week of training ahead with nationally No.1-ranked Vancouver Island University (VIU) providing the opposition next weekend. The Blues and Mariners play at 6 p.m. Friday and again at 1 p.m. Saturday at VIU.
The final regular-season home game for the Blues is Saturday, February 15 against Douglas College. It will be Seniors Night to celebrate the graduating fifth-year players. The women’s game starts at 5 p.m.