Cascades volleyball women edged by Bearcats in four sets

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s volleyball team dropped a four-set decision to the Columbia Bible College Bearcats on Thursday evening at Columbia Place.

The Cascades were shorthanded, with starting middles Monique Huber and Mandelyn Erikson sidelined due to injury/illness, and nothing was at stake standings-wise for either team. The Cascades (9-13) are locked into the No. 5 seed in the PacWest, while the Bearcats (5-18) have been eliminated from playoff contention.

WVB featured2The crosstown rivals wrap up their PacWest regular-season schedules on Friday at the Envision Athletic Centre on the UFV Abbotsford campus. The women’s teams play at 6 p.m., followed by the men at 8 p.m. Fifth-year players Nicole Blandford of the women’s team and Connor Nickel, Robert Bauerfind and Adam Chaplin of the men’s team will be honoured in Senior Night ceremonies between games.

“We’ve been battling injury and illness,” Cascades head coach Mike Gilray noted. “As much as we practice together, there’s always that connection during game time that’s going to be a little bit harder (when starters are missing).

“But the expectation with new players in, our standards are still the same,” he added. “It’s very important that you learn from losses – sometimes you learn more from losses.”

The Cascades had a promising start, building an 18-12 lead in the first set, but the Bearcats rallied to cut the deficit to 18-17. UFV seemingly regained control, up 22-20, but CBC reeled off the next five points to take the set 25-22. They carried that momentum into the second set, winning 25-13.

The Cascades found some traction in the third set and prevailed 25-23, and they continued to roll in the fourth, racing out to an 11-4 advantage. The Bearcats, though, won 10 of the next 13 points to level the score 14-14. The Cascades edged ahead again, but the hosts hung tough and scored the last three points of the set to close things out 25-23.

Left side Chelsa Kidd came off the bench to register six kills on nine swings for the Cascades, and Gilray felt middle Brielle Campbell played a “good, consistent game” after being inserted into the starting lineup.

“As a team, we need to recycle the ball and force teams to win points,” he analyzed. “We just had too many errors tonight. The league is too good to make that many errors and win.”

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