Facing the defending national champions on the road Friday evening, the University of the Fraser Valley women’s volleyball team staged a stirring comeback before succumbing in five sets to the Vancouver Island University Mariners.
The Mariners claimed the first two sets in Nanaimo by scores of 25-17 and 25-20, but the Cascades came roaring back to claim the next two in decisive fashion, 25-17 and 25-16. The hosts fended off the Cascades in the final set, though, prevailing 15-9.
The Cascades (1-3) and Mariners (4-1) renew hostilities on Saturday at 1 p.m. in Nanaimo.
“The girls are know there’s stuff to improve on, but to show the resiliency to respond is huge,” UFV head coach Mike Gilray said, reflecting on his team’s comeback effort. “We just have to put teams in trouble from the start as opposed to having to fight back.”
Over the first two sets, Gilray felt his team was passing and running their offence fairly well, but were giving away too many points through errors, particularly at the service line.
In the third and fourth sets, Keira Fisher and Rachel Funk helped the Cascades turn things around at the service line, and Kelly Robertson came off the bench to spark the team from the left side.
“We definitely put them in more trouble in the third and fourth game from the service line,” Gilray noted. “In the fifth, it was just too many errors. We tried to have the perfect kill when we had lots of space to hit at on the court.”
Third-year middle Mandelyn Erikson was the Cascades’ player of the game on a night when UFV had some success in the blocking department.
“We had more touches on our block today than we did in our other games combined,” Gilray noted.