Mariners bounce back, snap Cascades’ four-game win streak

Graeme Hughes and the Cascades fell to VIU on Saturday. (UFV Athletics file photo)

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball team was unable to conjure the same magic that had sparked an upset win over the Vancouver Island University Mariners on Friday, falling in straight sets in Saturday’s rematch in Nanaimo.

In Friday’s clash between the two nationally ranked teams, the CCAA No. 14 Cascades had fashioned a highly impressive five-set triumph over the No. 3 Mariners. VIU struck back in the rematch, prevailing by scores of 25-18, 25-20 and 25-14 to snap UFV’s four-game win streak.

The Cascades head into the semester break with a 6-6 record, good for third place in the PACWEST, while the Mariners are tied for first with the Capilano Blues at 10-2.

“We got off to a bit of a slow start in the match,” UFV bench boss Kyle Donen said. “We had a bit of rhythm in the second set, we started really well, but we didn’t have much of a response when they started to push back. We struggled to pass as a team, and they served pretty tough, and we had a hard time containing that on our own side.”

Fifth-year left side Nick Bruce led the Cascades offensively as he’s done for much of the fall, racking up a team-high 13 kills.

Saturday’s game was the last of 2017 for the UFV squad – they return to action Jan. 5-6 with road games vs. the Douglas Royals.

“I think our record is kind of how it feels – a little bit up and down,” Donen said, reflecting on the Cascades’ 6-6 mark. “But I think given the teams we split with, I feel relatively good about how we played. We’ve had a good second half of the first semester (going 4-1 over their last five games). I think we can feel pretty good about a split this weekend. Obviously losing tonight is not what we were hoping for, but we’ll be happy to be where we are. Being in sole possession of third place is a good place to be. I hope we can build on that, and continue get better next semester.”

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