After spotting the Douglas Royals a one-set lead on Saturday evening, the University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball team found its form, winning the next three to earn a weekend split at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre.
The Royals, coming off a four-set win on Friday, picked up where they’d left off, rolling to a 25-18 win in Saturday’s opener. But the Cascades came roaring back, taking the next three sets by scores of 25-20, 25-20 and 25-23.
UFV improved to 3-5, good for fifth place in the PACWEST conference, while the fourth-place Royals (5-5) fell back to the .500 mark.
“It was a good overall team performance,” Cascades head coach Kyle Donen said. “I thought from the get-go we had a little bit of a struggle in that first set, but I thought we found our groove the rest of the way.
“Some different guys were successful today for us, which is great to see. Overall, I’m happy with the weekend, at least the way that it finished.”
Ben Friesen helped the Cascades get back on track in the second set – the third-year left side racked up six kills in the frame.
The Cascades’ prowess at the net was the story in the third set – all seven of their blocks on the night came in the third, with two apiece from setter Adam Frederickson and middle Dayton Pagliericci.
In the fourth, after UFV built a 24-21 lead, the Royals saved the first two match points but ended it in anticlimactic fashion with a service error.
“I thought we did a better job of sustaining pressure,” Donen said, reflecting on how his team turned the momentum in sets two through four. “We were making some errors in that first set that were just giving them points.
“I just felt like we played a smarter game in sets two, three and four, and at the end of the day, we prevailed heavily because of that. I’m happy with the way we were able to finish.”
Friesen paced the offence with 13 kills, and fellow left side Nick Bruce chipped in with eight kills. Bruce, with 11 digs, was one of three Cascades in double digits, along with right side Matt Whittall (14) and libero Evan Bell-Foley (10).
The Cascades are back in action at home next weekend, taking on the College of the Rockies Avalanche on Saturday and Sunday.