After a one-year absence, the University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball team is going back to the PacWest playoffs.
The Cascades locked up their berth on Saturday – despite suffering a four-set loss on the road to the Capilano Blues, they benefitted from the Camosun Chargers beating the College of the Rockies Avalanche.
UFV (7-15), Capilano (5-17) and COTR (5-18) are currently ranked fifth through seventh, respectively, in the PacWest, and only the top six advance to the post-season. The important piece as far as the Cascades are concerned is that COTR only has one game remaining and thus can’t erase UFV’s two-game lead in the win column.
“We’re definitely excited to be back in the playoffs,” UFV head coach Kyle Donen said, “but our focus for the next couple weeks is to prepare to compete at the level we know we can.
“(Qualifying for the playoffs) was one of the goals we had earlier in the year, and that’s the first step. The plan now has to be to prepare accordingly for a tough first-round match-up that could come against our crosstown rivals.”
That would be the Columbia Bible College Bearcats, who currently sit fourth in the PacWest and would play UFV in the quarter-finals if nothing changes standings-wise over the final weekend of the regular season.
The two programs, in fact, wrap up the regular season with a home-and-home clash – this coming Friday at CBC, and Saturday at UFV (women 6 p.m., men 8 p.m. both nights).
The Cascades had beaten Capilano in four sets on Friday, but the Blues came back with a strong effort in the rematch and authored their own four-set victory.
Kurtis Stromdahl (13 kills) and Joel Kleingeltink (12 kills) led the way offensively, while middle Robert Koenig returned from an extended injury absence to notch five kills and a team-high three aces. Libero Isaiah Dahl came up with 17 digs.
“We didn’t play as well as we did last night, that’s the simplest way to put it,” Donen analyzed. “I think they played better, but at the same time, when we faced adversity we didn’t respond the right way. It’s something we’ve got to work on. We’ve got to be able to play consistent for more than one match or one night.”