Senior Night was going to be a memorable occasion regardless for the University of the Fraser Valley women’s volleyball team, but the Cascades and the Columbia Bible College Bearcats combined to put on a show that players and fans will remember for a long time.
The Bearcats, seeking their first victory of the 2014-15 PacWest campaign on the last night of the regular season, stunned the Cascades in the first set, rallying from a 20-10 deficit to win 26-24. They followed with a 25-23 triumph in the second set.
UFV was thoroughly on the ropes in the third, trailing 24-21, but they got a side out and then rode the serving of Nicole Blandford to level to score and ultimately prevail 26-24. Then they clawed out a 25-23 win in the fourth.
The wild fifth set was a microcosm of the entire game – the Cascades built a 9-6 lead, only to watch the Bearcats surge ahead 13-11 and then 14-12. But UFV senior middle Kierra Noot came up big at that point, hammering down a kill and then winning a joust at the net to knot the score. The Cascades went on to win 18-16, with Kelly Robertson notching a trio of key kills to help finish off the Bearcats.
“It was a fun fight – we just put it in the game plan to make it as exciting as possible for the fans tonight,” Cascades head coach Dennis Bokenfohr said with a chuckle afterward.
UFV, ranked No. 14 in the CCAA national poll, put a bow on its regular season with a 13-11 record, good for fourth in the PacWest. They face the fifth-place College of the Rockies Avalanche in the quarter-finals of the PacWest championships on Feb. 26 at Camosun College in Victoria. CBC fell to 0-24.
It was the Cascades’ home finale, and they held a post-game ceremony to honour graduating players Noot, Emily Carroll, Katie Peacock and Sarah Russell.
“We were just lucky to have them stick with us for this long,” Bokenfohr said. “It’s a privilege not too many coaches get, to have that many graduating players. It’s going to be exciting to see how they finish out their careers as we head into provincials, and hopefully beyond.”
Noot termed the Senior Night experience “amazing.”
“The whole top corner (of the gym) was my family,” she said with a chuckle.
“I’m really thankful we won. It’s nice to go out with a big win, especially after the time we’ve committed. It’s a nice boost for going into playoffs, and it’s a nice way to say goodbye to this gym.”