The University of the Fraser Valley women’s volleyball team wrapped up the PacWest regular season with a four-set loss to the Columbia Bible College Bearcats on Friday.
Playing at UFV’s Envision Athletic Centre, the Bearcats took the first two sets by matching 25-19 scores. The Cascades found their mojo midway through the third set and pulled away for a decisive 25-16 win, but CBC regrouped and closed out the match 25-20 in the fourth.
The result had no impact on the final standings – the Cascades (9-15) were locked into the PacWest’s fifth seed, while the seventh-place Bearcats (6-18) had already been eliminated from playoff contention. But UFV head coach Mike Gilray wanted to see more of a competitive push from his squad in their last game before playoffs.
“It doesn’t change anything in the standings, but there needs to be that absolute hate of losing,” he said. “I’m not sure we’re at that. I think we were a little too comfortable . . . that it didn’t matter (in the standings). We knew coming in that CBC was going to fight for absolutely everything. It’s a crosstown rival, it’s the end of their season, and it helps them go out on a positive note.
“We have to be able to match that enthusiasm and want to perform for each other.”
Rookie left side Chelsea Kidd was a bright spot for the Cascades – she hit 44 per cent en route to nine kills, part of an “unbelievable weekend” in Gilray’s estimation.
The Cascades honoured fifth-year setter Nicole Blandford in a post-game Senior Night ceremony, commemorating the final home game of her distinguished career. Gilray also presented a bouquet of flowers to fourth-year libero Ray Flores, who is set to graduate.
“Nicole is a consummate competitor,” Gilray said. “She’s the one that I don’t think has taken a point off this whole year. More of our girls need to see that fight. She’s on the floor every point, all the time, and it’s like she never runs out of energy.
“Nicole’s been there for us defensively, offensively as a server, and then just putting up a great hitting ball for us.”
Up next for the Cascades is the PacWest championship tournament, which runs next week (Feb. 25-27) at Columbia Bible College.
Blandford said Senior Night was “definitely emotional.”
“It’s a different feeling going on the court, knowing it’s my last time in my home gym,” she said. “There’s definitely added pressures, but I think that just made me want to play harder. Unfortunately it didn’t go our way . . . but if we learn from this and that helps us in the playoffs, then it’s the best part of our season.”