The University of the Fraser Valley women’s volleyball team opened the 2017-18 PACWEST regular season with a flourish, blitzing the Columbia Bible College Bearcats in three straight sets on Thursday evening at Columbia Place.
The Cascades got stronger as the match wore on, winning by scores of 25-22, 25-16 and 25-17.
Crosstown rivals UFV (1-0) and CBC (0-1) clash again on Friday at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre to complete the home-and-home set, with the women’s game set for 6 p.m. followed by the men at 8 p.m.
“Game days are the best days, because you’ve put all the work in and now you get to go out and play,” Cascades women’s volleyball head coach Mike Gilray said. “We’ve been communicating to the girls that we were excited about the work they’d put in (in the off-season and preseason), and now it was time to let it show.”
Playing in front of a vocal Bearcats home crowd, the Cascades had a handful of unforced errors in the first set, but pulled out the win behind some clutch blocks from sophomore middle Teagan Johnstone in the latter stages.
A lengthy service run by Amanda Matsui sparked UFV in the second set, and right side Cassidy Pearson came up big offensively in the third to help the Cascades close out the match.
Matsui, a redshirt freshman making her Cascades debut after sitting out last season due to injury, racked up a team-high 10 kills. Pearson and second-year middle Hanna Hieltjes had six kills apiece, and Hieltjes’s performance was particularly efficient, coming on just nine swings. Rookie setter Olivia Heinen posted 32 assists, an outstanding number in a three-set match.
“We upped our game at it went along, and that’s what any coach is looking for,” Gilray summarized.