Cascades women’s volleyballers complete weekend sweep of Bearcats

Mandelyn Erikson notched six kills in Saturday's home-opening win over CBC.

Mandelyn Erikson notched six kills in Saturday’s home-opening win over CBC.

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s volleyball team emerged victorious in their home opener on Saturday evening, completing a weekend sweep of their crosstown rivals from Columbia Bible College.

After outlasting the Bearcats in five sets at Columbia Place on Friday, the Cascades required one less set to get the job done in the rematch at UFV’s Envision Athletic Centre, prevailing 25-23, 20-25, 25-16, 25-12.

“We learned their tendencies (on Friday), and our goal tonight was just to be better as a team,” Cascades fifth-year setter Nicole Blandford said afterward. “We had no idea what to expect from CBC (going into the weekend), because they’re a whole new team and so are we. It was really good to build our confidence and come out with two wins.”

A scorching-hot performance from the service line had powered UFV to victory on Friday, and while they didn’t match that output on Saturday, they improved in almost every other facet of the game.

Kelly Robertson

Kelly Robertson

Blandford and libero Rachelle Flores tied for team-high honours with 11 digs apiece, and middles Monique Huber (10 kills) and Mandelyn Erikson (six kills) keyed the attack.

“We were definitely more prepared coming in,” Cascades head coach Mike Gilray said. “I was able to watch video and give the girls some options on how to score better and help my setter out in those same ways. We wanted to use our middles more, and we were able to today. Our leading kill-getter today was the middle, which was huge. It’s very much an outside game (in the PacWest).

“And for us to get that, we also had to pass better, and our libero had her best passing game so far.”

In the third and fourth sets, the Cascades cut down on their unforced errors and shored up their blocking to put the game away.

“Blocking was one of our big keys to improve, and it was outstanding tonight,” Gilray said. “Kara Williams really started to get the timing on their left sides and giving us a better lineup, and it wasn’t there in the first game.

“Our serving got worse today, but we served at an incredible rate yesterday. . . Offensively we were better, blocking we were better, passing we were better, defensively we were better. It was a much better all-around game.”

The Cascades volleyball teams hit the road next weekend to face the Douglas Royals, with games set for Friday (women 6 p.m., men 8 p.m.) and Saturday (women 5 p.m., men 7 p.m.).

The Cascades women's volleyball team delivered new head coach Mike Gilray a pair of victories on opening weekend.

The Cascades women’s volleyball team delivered new head coach Mike Gilray a pair of victories on opening weekend.

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