The College of the Rockies Avalanche dealt the University of the Fraser Valley women’s volleyball team a heartbreaking defeat in the quarter-finals of the PacWest conference championship on Thursday evening.
Playing at Victoria’s Camosun College, the Avalanche prevailed in an epic five-setter (23-25, 25-17, 25-20, 22-25, 15-8). They move on to face the top-seeded Camosun Chargers in the semifinals on Friday, while the Cascades’ season is over.
“It was a back-and-forth game where we took turns trading punches,” UFV head coach Dennis Bokenfohr said afterward. “It was a good fight throughout, and you never want to see it go to the fifth set – it’s a wild card.”
The Cascades (13-11 in the regular season) entered the conference tournament as the No. 4 seed, while the Avalanche (11-13) were seeded fifth.
UFV came roaring out of the gates in the first set to grab an early 6-1 lead, but their Cranbrook counterparts came back to level the score 14-14 and it was a back-and-forth affair from there. The Cascades pulled out a 25-23 win, with fifth-year middle Kierra Noot sealing the deal with a huge block.
The Avalanche cruised to victory in the second set, though, and in the third, they pulled away midway through the frame and kept the Cascades at bay from there to take a two sets to one lead.
UFV came up clutch in the fourth – with the score tied 21-21, they broke it open with three straight points en route to a 25-22 triumph.
But the Cascades couldn’t find any traction in the fifth. The Avalanche sprinted out to a 5-1 lead, and after UFV cut the deficit to 5-3, COTR reeled off five straight points to put the Cascades in a hole they weren’t able to dig out of.
“COTR got on top, and our girls couldn’t recover from that,” Bokenfohr noted. “They got some momentum in the fifth, and they rode it to the end.”
Middle Monique Huber picked up player of the game honours for the Cascades after registering six kills, two blocks and three aces, while Kelsey Thompson was the Avalanche’s honouree after racking up 13 kills, five aces and a block.
– photos courtesy Kevin Light Photography