The University of the Fraser Valley women’s volleyball team dug deep on defence to complete a weekend sweep of the Camosun Chargers.
The Cascades combined for an impressive 78 digs in Saturday afternoon’s four-set triumph (25-18, 19-25, 25-20, 25-22) at the Student Activity Centre, with five players in double figures: Kara Williams (16), Amy Davidson (14), Rachel Funk (14), Nicole Blandford (13) and Kelly Robertson (11).
Outside hitters Funk and Robertson led the charge offensively with 12 kills apiece, and rookie Keira Fisher stepped into the starting lineup in place of injured middle Mandelyn Erikson to register eight kills on 57 per cent hitting.
The Cascades improved to 6-8 on the season, good for fifth place in the PacWest. The Chargers, ranked No. 9 in the nation heading into the weekend, are tied for second in the conference at 8-6.
“The thing that made it exciting for us was, we played such a better volleyball game (than on Friday),” UFV head coach Mike Gilray said. “It was nice to pull out the win last night, but if you look at the stats, it was a sloppy game for both sides – low percentages hitting, bad passing stats.
“We had a much more consistent game today.”
A big part of that consistency was the ability of the Cascades’ blockers to slow down the Chargers’ attack by getting touches on the ball.
“The continuous slowdowns meant that our blockers were on time and pressing and doing the right things with their hands,” Gilray said. “The only way your digs are getting that high are if your blockers are doing a good job of funneling the ball to you or slowing it down.”
Fisher, in particular, did a phenomenal job in place of Erikson, who went down with an ankle injury in the late stages of Friday’s game. Gilray called her “the best middle on the floor from both sides today.”
“It’s a little nerve-wracking coming in and having to fill as big of shoes as Mandelyn’s, because she’s got a huge leadership role and she’s a big influence on the team,” Fisher said. “But I kind of just wanted to go out there and play and have fun, and do what I could for my team.”
The Cascades volleyball teams hit the road next weekend to take on the Vancouver Island University Mariners in Nanaimo. Games run Friday (women 6 p.m., men 8 p.m.) and Saturday (women 1 p.m., men 3 p.m.).