As straight-sets victories go, the one that the University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball team picked up on Saturday evening against the College of the Rockies Avalanche was about as close as they come.
The Cascades had to grind it out in each of the three sets, winning by scores of 27-25, 25-22 and 28-26 at UFV’s Student Activity Centre North Gym. The hosts improved to 9-8, good for fourth place in the PacWest, while the fifth-place Avalanche fell to 9-10.
The two teams renew hostilities on Sunday (1 p.m., Student Activity Centre).
“I thought we put ourselves in a position to win a little easier in all three sets, and kind of made it a little more difficult on ourselves,” Cascades head coach Kyle Donen said. “But in the end, we were able to battle for a three-set win, and that’s never easy to do in this league, in any situation.
“I’d like to see us finish a little smoother for the next one. But we were off for a week, and coming back, sometimes it takes a little time. But I think we’ll find it, and be better tomorrow.”
After winning the first two sets, the Cascades found themselves in a chase position throughout the third. The Avalanche held leads of 18-15 and 22-20, but UFV clawed back to finish the match 28-26 on a big kill from Adam Chaplin.
“Even though it was three sets in a row, there’s still a lot to improve on,” Cascades fifth-year middle Connor Nickel noted. “But we came through when we needed to the most, and that was just through distributing the ball. Freddy (setter Adam Fredrickson) did a good job of getting everybody involved.”
Donen felt that Nickel, both on offence and defence, was a catalyst for his squad.
“He really led the way for us through the middle of the floor,” Donen said. “Connor was kind of everywhere when it came to the blocking side of things tonight, and established a strong offensive presence through the middle right from the get-go.”