The Envision Athletic Centre is going to be buzzing this weekend. In addition to the University of the Fraser Valley men’s and women’s basketball home openers vs. the Saskatchewan Huskies, the Cascades volleyball teams are hosting the Camosun Chargers in PACWEST league play.
MVB: Defending conference champs come to town
Friday: Cascades (3-2, 4th in PACWEST) vs. Camosun Chargers (4-2, T-2nd in PACWEST), 8 p.m.
Saturday: Cascades vs. Chargers, 3 p.m.
Envision Athletic Centre (North Gym)
Coming off their first two losses of the season last weekend at the hands of first-place Vancouver Island University, the Cascades men’s volleyball squad faces another stiff test this weekend against the Camosun Chargers. The Victoria program won the PACWEST championship last season and won the CCAA national title the year prior, and while they’ve had some roster turnover since, they still merit the No. 10 spot in the national rankings.
UFV bench boss Kyle Donen noted that the Cascades struggled to finish off sets against VIU, and suggested his team needs to take a different mental approach this weekend.
“We need to be better at staying composed and relaxed,” he said. “I think we’ve been adding a little bit of extra pressure to ourselves for whatever reason – for us, expectations are high this year. We just need to stay the course. We’ve got some young guys who are stepping up, and we need to keep those guys relaxed and composed when it comes to some tougher situations (at the end of sets).”
Players to watch: Fifth-year Cascades right side Joel Kleingeltink is coming off a tremendous weekend against VIU which saw him rack up 34 points over the course of seven sets, highlighted by an eye-popping eight aces in Friday’s game alone. The Langley, B.C. product leads PACWEST in aces (0.71 per set) and blocks (1.06 per set) and is second overall in total offence (4.88 points per set). The Chargers, meanwhile, have gotten strong performances out of rookie left side Matthew Bowers – the Milton, Ont. product is fourth in the league in total offence (3.70 points per set).
WVB: Cascades look to get back on track vs. Chargers
Friday: Cascades (1-4, 7th in PACWEST) vs. Camosun Chargers (3-3, 3rd in PACWEST), 6 p.m.
Saturday: Cascades vs. Chargers, 1 p.m.
Envision Athletic Centre (North Gym)
The Camosun women’s squad mirrors their male counterparts, in that they also hold down the No. 10 spot in the CCAA national rankings. The Cascades, meanwhile, are looking to find their rhythm after dropping four of their first five matches of the regular season.
UFV head coach Mike Gilray noted that a lot of teams in PACWEST have been “up and down” to this point of the season – Camosun, for instance, has split each of its first three weekend sets (vs. College of the Rockies, VIU and Columbia Bible College).
“I think for a lot of teams right now, that inconsistency is kind of ruling the roost,” he said. “We just have to try to be better for longer. There’s not a level of volleyball that we haven’t reached – it’s that we need more players to be on at the same time and helping us connect.
“I want us to be playing our level of volleyball for 25 points, as opposed to 10 or 15 points. We are a tough team to play against, and when we’re not giving away free points, we really make it tough to earn points against us.”
Players to watch: Cascades fourth-year middle Monique Huber can lay claim to the title of toughest server in the PACWEST, at least through three weeks. She leads the league in aces (0.72 per set) and is also the Cascades’ team leader in total offence (3.17 points per set, ninth overall in PACWEST). Ex-Cascade Michelle Zygmunt paces the Chargers’ offence – she’s fourth in the league in kills (3.00/set) and sixth in total offence (3.68/set).