The University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball team came awfully close to scoring an upset against one of the top teams in Canada, but the Vancouver Island University Mariners managed to pick themselves up off the mat.
Buoyed by a raucous home crowd, the Cascades staggered the Mariners in the first two sets, winning by matching 25-20 scores.
But VIU, who came in ranked No. 7 in the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association (CCAA) national poll, managed to eke out a pair of matching set wins of their own, taking the third and fourth sets by 25-23 counts. They prevailed more decisively in the fifth, closing out the Cascades 15-8.
The Mariners, who sit third in the PacWest conference, improved to 10-5, while the fifth-place Cascades sport a 6-11 record after suffering their eighth straight loss.
The two teams play again on Saturday at 3 p.m. in the Student Activity Centre North Gym.
“I thought we battled really well in the first and second set, particularly in the second when we were down and came back and took it,” UFV head coach Kyle Donen analyzed. “We put ourselves in a really good position to win the match.
“But I felt that when the game started to tighten up a little bit, we started to make some errors. We just didn’t execute our offence as well as we could have. We started to cripple a little bit, and we had a tough time getting the momentum back. The morale on the court changed a little bit, and that affected the outcome in the end.”
Left side Josh Togeretz led the way for the Cascades, hammering down 14 kills and also posting a team-high total in digs with nine. Right side Joel Kleingeltink (11 kills) and middle Dayton Pagliericci (nine kills) also chipped in offensively, while libero Chris Yuill had eight digs and setter Ryan Thain registered 40 assists and five digs.
“We let this one slip away, and this one hurts,” Donen noted. “But we still have a chance to rebound tomorrow. We’ve done this before, and now we just need to do a better job of rebounding the next night and find another gear to get us through it.”