Cascades drop five-set heartbreaker to Royals on the road

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s volleyball team and the Douglas Royals engaged in another epic match on Friday evening in New Westminster, but once again, it was the Royals who came out on top.

The three league matches between the Cascades and Royals this season have required 14 of a possible 15 sets to decide, but Douglas is a perfect 3-0 against UFV in the aftermath of Friday’s game. Such is the razor-thin margin for error in the PACWEST this season.

Kim Bauder and the Cascades dropped a hard-fought five-set decision to Douglas on Friday. (Tree Frog Imaging).

The Royals (10-3, tied for first place in PACWEST) won 25-20, 18-25, 25-16, 17-25, 17-15, and host a rematch against the Cascades (4-9, sixth place) at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

“We were just very inconsistent,” UFV head coach Mike Gilray analyzed. “I’d like to think our training (over the December break), getting ready for this first match, would have had us ready, but we’re definitely working through some injuries. Hopefully we can come back tomorrow and battle a little bit better.”

The Cascades were up 14-13 in the winner-take-all fifth set, but the Royals, ranked No. 6 in the nation, fended off match point and pulled ahead from there.

UFV got strong, well-rounded performances from middle Monique Huber and left side Rachel Funk. PACWEST aces leader Huber hammered five more aces on Friday, and added 11 kills. Funk registered 12 kills and 11 digs, and didn’t register a single error at the service line.

“It was a serve/serve-receive battle,” Gilray said. “Both teams are aggressive serving teams, and I think both coaches would have liked more control for most of the match whether it be serving or serve receive. It was good to get a good battle in – it wasn’t great volleyball, but there were some signs of brilliance, some great digs and some service runs.”

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