Friday’s clash between top-10 nationally ranked teams lived up to its billing, as the University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball squad and the Vancouver Island University Mariners brought out the best in each other on Friday at the Envision Athletic Centre.
The heavyweight battle saw the host Cascades – ranked No. 8 in the CCAA national poll – take the first set 25-23, but the No. 1 team in the country bounced back for a 25-23 win of their own in the second. UFV was soundly thumped in the third by a 25-11 count, but regrouped to take the fourth 25-19.
The Mariners raced out to a 4-0 lead in the fifth, but the Cascades came roaring back to level the score 9-9 and set up a frantic finish. UFV, trailing 14-12, would fend off two match points to tie things up once again, but VIU earned the next two points to seal the victory.
The Cascades (14-5, second in PACWEST) get another crack at the Mariners (16-1, first place) on Saturday afternoon (3 p.m., Envision Athletic Centre North Gym).
“We didn’t come away with a win, (and) we still didn’t play to the best I think we’re capable of,” Cascades head coach Kyle Donen mused afterward. “We had points in the match where we had chances to get extra points, and we didn’t capitalize on some of those opportunities we had. When you’re playing a good team, they’re going to make you pay for those. I think we just needed to be more consistent.”
Fifth-year right side Joel Kleingeltink paced the Cascades in kills with 12, and middle Dayton Pagliericci chipped in with 11 kills and four blocks. Fellow middle Connor Pruim also had a big game with nine kills and six blocks.
Isaiah Dahl led the defence with 21 digs, and Kleingeltink and setter Adam Frederickson notched nine apiece.