Brent Mutis, CapU Sport Information & Compliance Officer
Taking on the top-rated team in the country in their own home gym was never going to be an easy task for the Capilano Blues women's volleyball team and the challenge lived up to the billing as the host Vancouver Island University (VIU) Mariners took a clean sweep of the weekend.
In Saturday's opening match, VIU made a statement with a 25-12 win in the first set getting three kills apiece from Kayla Passmore and Jane Nyukhalova.
The second set turned out to be the most competitive of the weekend with the Blue attack being led by Jaylene Lucas. The 5-foot-11 middle from Surrey put away five of her eight kills on the night. Consecutive kills from Lucas put the Blues up 20-16 and forced VIU to call a timeout around which the Mariners were able to rally. The home side got kills from 6-foot-2 front line players Karoline Tormena and Kaitlyn Vanderkooi in response and they went on to win by two.
VIU kept things tidy in the third set to take the win, denying Capilano any significant scoring runs as Dobbyn and Tormena repeatedly teamed up to form a wall at the net. Despite six kills from Meghan Koven, the Blues were unable to extend the match.
Another bright spot for Capilano was Maya Griffith. The first-year lefthanded hitter was in the starting lineup for the first time this season and put away six kills to go along with an ace and eight digs, all season highs for the Vancouver native.
In Sunday's proceedings, Capilano was without the services of Lucas who was sideline with injury after Saturday's match. The Blues again frustrated by the Mariners imposing presence at the net and made 21 attacking errors to just 20 kills. First-year Blues Olivia Humeston and Courtney Muller were each able to muster a positive hitting percentage on four kills each. Humeston also added an ace and was in on four blocks.
Head coach Rob Gowe took the opportunity to get floor time for most of his players in all three sets, experience against the top team in the country that should help the young players in the future.
Next up for the Blues is a home-and-home set to close out the regular season against Douglas College. Friday's game is at Douglas and on Saturday, Capilano will honour its graduating fifth-year players with a ceremony between the men's and women's games. The women's match is a 5 p.m. start Saturday followed by the men at 7 p.m.