Mariners wrap up weekend sweep of Cascades

Amanda Matsui had eight kills for the Cascades on Saturday at VIU. (UFV Athletics file photo)

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s volleyball team fell to the Vancouver Island University Mariners for the second straight day, dropping a three-set decision on Saturday in Nanaimo.

Despite the straight-sets nature of the defeat, the Cascades put together a better performance than they had in Friday’s series opener, also a three-setter. The set scores (26-24, 25-23, 25-21) were much closer in the rematch.

The CCAA No. 7-ranked Cascades close out the semester with a 7-5 record, good for third place in the PACWEST. VIU (10-2) is tied for first with the Douglas Royals.

“We played very well in the first, but we didn’t force them to win any points,” Cascades head coach Mike Gilray said, noting that his squad had 17 errors in the first set to counterbalance some sharp offensive play. “Being able to walk that fine line of being aggressive and making good choices is the difference between good and great.

“They were the better team this weekend.”

The game pivoted in the late stages of the first set. The Cascades built an 18-14 lead, but the Mariners came roaring back to tie it 19-19. Later on, UFV led 23-22, but VIU scored four of the next five points to take it 26-24 and seize the momentum.

The hosts were in good form in the second set, building a 21-11 lead, but the Cascades mounted a comeback to draw to within 24-23, with Alexis Edwards reeling off a lengthy service run. The next point went the Mariners’ way, though, and they took a two sets to none lead.

VIU fashioned a 14-9 lead in the third, and while the Cascades were able to close to within 15-14, the Mariners pulled away once again and put the finishing touches on the victory.

Gilray noted that his team had also struggled with errors the previous weekend against College of the Rockies, but were able to win both games due to the fact the Avalanche were depleted by injuries. The juggernaut Mariners, though, made them pay for those miscues.

Libero Amy Davidson had a strong outing for the Cascades, racking up 19 digs, and left side Kim Bauder paced the attack with 12 kills and added 12 digs. Rookie setter Olivia Heinen registered 35 set assists, and Amanda Matsui chipped in with eight kills. Cassidy Pearson sparked the team offensively in the third set, coming in off the bench to earn four kills from the left side.

Saturday’s game was the last of the semester for the Cascades. They return to action Jan. 5-6 with road games vs. Douglas.

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