Cascades knock off No. 9-ranked Chargers

Nicole Blandford and Monique Huber go up for a block during Friday's home win over Camosun.

Nicole Blandford and Monique Huber go up for a block during Friday’s home win over Camosun.

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s volleyball team opened the second semester in impressive fashion, knocking off the No. 9-ranked team in the nation in three straight sets.

The Cascades defeated the Camosun Chargers 25-18, 25-23, 25-18 at the Student Activity Centre on the UFV Abbotsford campus on Friday.

Head coach Mike Gilray’s squad improved to 5-8, good for fifth place in the PacWest, while the second-place Chargers fell to 8-5.

Rachel Funk accounted for a team-high 12 points in Friday's win over Camosun.

Rachel Funk accounted for a team-high 12 points in Friday’s win over Camosun.

The splashy result notwithstanding, Gilray came away convinced his team still has more to give. The potential for improvement bodes well for the Cascades heading into Saturday afternoon’s rematch with the Chargers (1 p.m., Student Activity Centre).

“It wasn’t our best game,” asserted Gilray, noting that his team spotted Camosun a 6-0 lead to start the second set before rallying to win it. “We served above our standard, which was nice, and I think that put them in some pressure.

“But I think that was the biggest thing that came out of our meeting after the game – the team said, too, that we didn’t play at the level we can.”

UFV’s left sides, Kelly Robertson and Rachel Funk, both had big games. Robertson pounded a team-high nine kills, while Funk registered seven kills and five aces to account for a team-leading 12 total points. Setter Nicole Blandford was a force defensively, posting 12 digs.

“I think Camosun’s a little under the weather right now – they’ve got some injuries, they lost some players from the first half,” Gilray said. “But they’re the ninth-ranked team, and you’re not the ninth-ranked team without being deep. We still had to beat good players tonight, and any win in this league is good because it’s a tough league to win in.

“We believe we can get better tomorrow, and hopefully continue to put that pressure on. They’re going to come back fighting.”

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