In a game of wild momentum swings, the University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball team was fortunate to have Adam Chaplin’s right arm swinging on their behalf.
The Cascades appeared to be on their way to a relatively straightforward victory over the Vancouver Island University Mariners on Friday evening at the Envision Athletic Centre, leading by four points midway through the fourth set. But the Mariners erased deficits of 16-12 and 23-21, and ultimately prevailed 25-23 to force a fifth set.
VIU had the Cascades on the ropes, racing out to a 9-5 lead, but fifth-year outside hitter Chaplin helped reclaim the momentum – and fire up the home fans – with a pair of emphatic, resounding kills. He also had two highlight-reel digs which might have been even better.
It was fitting, then, that Chaplin was at the service line with UFV up 14-13 and a chance to close out the victory. After he launched one of his scorching jump serves, the Mariners never got the ball back over – Nick Bruce came up with a huge stuff block for the winning point.
The Cascades improved to 3-2, while the Mariners fell to 0-3. The two teams lock horns once again on Saturday (3 p.m., Envision Athletic Centre), preceded by a game between the UFV and VIU women’s volleyball teams (1 p.m.).
“It was definitely an emotional roller-coaster, but it was definitely a big win for us,” Chaplin said afterward. “In my five years here, this is the first game we’ve ever beaten VIU. It’s a big game for me, and for our team as a whole, coming off of last weekend (a pair of road losses to Douglas).”
The Cascades got a great team-wide effort on Friday, and the standouts were Chaplin and second-year middle Dayton Pagliericci, who was a force both offensively and defensively.
“He’s put together three incredible matches (in a row) that he’s going to remember for a while,” Cascades head coach Kyle Donen said of Pagliericci. “And now we expect that from him. He took the time to really get to know the middle on the other side and did a great job of containing him like we needed him to.”
Donen noted that his team “definitely did it the hard way” on Friday.
“We kind of lost our way there for a little bit there, and let them back into a match that we had in control,” he said. “That fourth set, we were in the driver’s seat and we kind of let them pull us over. I’d like to see us stay on the gas and finish it off. But in the end, we were able to come out with a win – and a win is a win.”