Cascades outlast Avalanche for five-set win

Graeme Hughes celebrates a kill during Saturday’s win over COTR.

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball team defeated the College of the Rockies Avalanche in a five-set thriller on Saturday afternoon at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre.

The Cascades had a strong start, taking the first set 25-14, but the Avalanche came back to win the second 25-19. They continued to alternate sets from there – UFV took the third 25-20, and COTR surged ahead late in the fourth to take it 25-22. The fifth set was all Cascades, though, as they closed out the match by a 15-5 score.

The Cascades improved to 4-5, good for fourth in the PACWEST, while the fifth-place Avalanche fell to 4-7. The two programs clash again on Sunday at Abbotsford Senior Secondary (women 11 a.m., men 1 p.m.).

Nick Bruce had eight kills for the Cascades.

“We were inconsistent, but our serving game was pretty strong,” Cascades head coach Kyle Donen said. “We were good offensively when we needed to be, but we had some lapses, and we needed to be more consistent.

“At times we had a lot of energy, and then it went away. The opposing team is quieter, so I think we were better when we were able to raise our energy up.”

Cascades captain Ben Friesen sparked the Cascades midway through the first set, putting together a service run to give his team a 16-9 lead. Rookie outside hitter Landon Uy came in off the bench to help the hosts finish off a 25-14 win.

After the Avalanche claimed the second set, fifth-year UFV left side Nick Bruce helped swing the third set the Cascades’ way with some key blocks and kills in the early going. Sophomore right side Graeme Hughes finished it off with a huge kill for the winning point.

UFV looked to be in control in the fourth, up 8-3, but the Avalanche rallied to tie it at 17. With the match all square at 21-21, COTR scored four of the last five points to extend the match.

The Cascades scored the first three points of the fifth set and were off to the races from there, with setter Adam Frederickson punctuating the victory with a block.

Friesen paced the offence with 13 kills, and Bruce chipped in with eight. Hughes had a solid night at the service line, registering two aces.

– by Raelyn O’Hara, Cascades student communications assistant

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