The University of the Fraser Valley women’s volleyball team staged a breakthrough performance on Friday evening, knocking off the Capilano Blues in four sets at the Envision Athletic Centre.
The Blues came in ranked No. 7 in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA), and had swept a pair of games against the first-place Camosun Chargers the previous weekend.
But the Cascades excelled on defence and rode a balanced attack to a 25-23, 11-25, 25-22, 25-23 victory. UFV improved to 4-7, while Capilano now sits at 7-4. The two teams renew hostilities on Saturday at the Envision Athletic Centre (5 p.m. start).
The hosts started strong, building a six-point lead midway through the first set, but the Blues staged a lightning-quick rally to surge ahead 23-22. But the Cascades reeled off the next three points to stake themselves to the early advantage.
The second set was all Capilano, but UFV bounced back in the third. With the score tied 20-20, two Kelly Robertson kills bookended a spectacular service run by Monique Huber, which saw the third-year middle unleash three straight aces.
In a hard-fought fourth set, the Cascades sealed the deal on a clutch kill by Huber.
“I think it definitely pumps us up, and just makes us more motivated to come out tomorrow guns blazing and play as hard as we do play and control our side,” UFV middle Mandelyn Erikson said.
Erikson was one of the offensive catalysts for the Cascades, racking up 11 kills. Robertson had a team-high 12 kills, while Huber’s 14 offensive points included five aces.
Libero Amy Davidson accounted for 23 of UFV’s 70 digs, and Gilray credited the team’s strong blocking for slowing down the Blues’ high-octane offence.
“Our blocking and defence were definitely what led us tonight,” he said. “I thought we did a great job of containing two excellent hitters in (Alexis) Sebok and Kira (Sutcliffe) . . . We only had three actual blocks that won us points, but we had a lot of slow-downs. We had 25 digs in one game and 15 in another, and I think that just says so much about what our blocking was doing.”