The University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball team got its season started off on the right foot, defeating the Capilano Blues in four sets at the Envision Athletic Centre on Saturday evening.
The PACWEST regular-season opener for both teams went the Cascades’ way by scores of 28-26, 24-26, 25-12 and 27-25.
Though the hosts took two of the three sets which went beyond the prescribed 25-point threshold, UFV head coach Kyle Donen wasn’t thrilled with the way his team allowed Capilano to rally in both the first and second sets. The Cascades held a 24-20 lead in the first, only to let the Blues back into it before salvaging a two-point victory. In the second set, they weren’t so fortunate – Capilano prevailed after UFV allowed a late two-point lead to slip away.
After blowing out the Blues in the third set, the Cascades came up clutch in the closely contested fourth, with Joel Kleingeltink pounding down his team-leading 15th kill of the night to seal the victory.
“We just need to do a better job of recognizing that killer instinct that we need to have to finish sets off,” Donen said afterward. “They’re a scrappy defensive team, and they’re going to get some defensive stops . . . we just need to do a better job of finishing things off when we have that opportunity. I think we did a better job of that in the fourth set, but we definitely could have improved on that in the first couple.
“There were some good things to the game – some of the simpler parts of the game could have been improved upon, though.”
In addition to his 15 kills, fifth-year right side Kleingeltink rang up five blocks and two aces. Left sides Ben Friesen (13 kills) and Nick Bruce (seven kills) and middle Dayton Pagliericci (six kills, two aces) also had solid offensive performances for the hosts, while libero Isaiah Dahl had 20 digs.
It was a special night for Friesen – the Cascades sophomore was across the net from his twin brother Simon, the Blues’ starting setter.
“It’s a lot of fun to band together with the guys on your own team and play against the guy you’ve known for your whole life,” Ben Friesen said with a smile. “It’s just like we’re in the back yard playing against each other over the net, one-on-one. It’s a lot of fun.”
The Cascades volleyball teams are back in action next weekend with a home-and-home set vs. the Columbia Bible College Bearcats, their crosstown rival. The two teams play Thursday at CBC and Friday at UFV – women at 6 p.m., men at 8 p.m. both nights.