Coming off their most impressive win of the season, the University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball team wasn’t able to reach the same heights against the Vancouver Island University Mariners on Friday.
Playing on the road in Nanaimo, the Cascades suffered a straight-sets defeat (25-15, 25-21, 25-8) at the hands of the Mariners, who seized sole possession of third place in the PacWest by virtue of the victory. VIU improved to 9-6, while UFV fell to 8-7.
The Cascades, ranked No. 13 in the nation, will aim to get back on even terms with the Mariners on Saturday, as they wrap up the weekend series. Start time is 3 p.m.
Friday’s performance was in stark contrast to the Cascades’ showing last Saturday in a five-set victory over the previously undefeated, reigning national champion Camosun Chargers.
“You could call it a bit of a reality check in some ways,” UFV head coach Kyle Donen said. “We haven’t accomplished anything yet. We beat the best team in the country last week, but we need to strive to be better every day. This was a learning experience for us, and we need to use it as fuel for the fire to get better tomorrow, and over the next couple weeks as well.”
The Cascades were without standout libero Isaiah Dahl – he was injured in practice on Thursday and was unable to suit up. Rookie Evan Bell-Foley stepped in, and in Donen’s estimation, did a commendable job under the circumstances.
But little else went right for the visitors on this night.
“The short story is, we did not play well,” Donen said. “We didn’t have it tonight. Credit them – they did some good things and took advantage of our awful play. We know we need to be better.
“It was definitely a performance that we want to move past. We know we’re capable of being better than we showed tonight.”