Avalanche deal Cascades their first home loss

The College of the Rockies Avalanche dealt the University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball team its first home loss of the season, prevailing in four sets on Sunday at the Envision Athletic Centre.

The Cascades started brightly, winning the first set 25-19, but the Avalanche took the next three by scores of 25-20, 25-21 and 26-24. COTR’s Patrick Toze closed out the hard-fought fourth set with an ace.

UFV, coming off a four-set win over the Avalanche on Saturday, saw a five-game win streak come to an end as they fell to 7-1 at home and 8-3 overall. They’re still firmly in second place in the PACWEST, however. The fourth-place Avalanche evened their record at 6-6.

COTR was playing its fourth game in four days – they defeated the Columbia Bible College Bearcats on Thursday and Friday prior to their weekend series at UFV – but Cascades head coach Kyle Donen felt that his squad looked more tired than the visitors on Sunday.

“After the first set, we were a little flat,” Donen said. “I don’t think we pushed back as much as we should have – it just looked like we were down on our energy for whatever reason. We almost looked like the team that had played their fourth match.

“Maybe it’s just that yesterday wasn’t as much of a fight and we weren’t expecting the fight back that they brought. One of their better players (Toze) played really well today and made it difficult for us to contain him. Overall I felt we could have been a lot stronger, but kudos to them – they were a lot stronger tonight.”

Ben Friesen (14 kills) and Joel Kleingeltink (13 kills) set the pace offensively for the Cascades, and Matt Whittall registered three aces.

The UFV volleyball teams wrap up their first-semester schedules on the road against the Capilano Blues on Thursday (women 6 p.m., men 8 p.m.).

“It’s nice to know that we have a chance to finish strong,” Donen said. “It’s a game we’re going to be hungry to win after tonight.”

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