The Vancouver Island University women’s volleyball team lived up to its advance billing, defeating the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades in decisive fashion on Friday evening in Nanaimo.
In a clash of nationally ranked teams, the No. 3 Mariners got the best of the No. 7 Cascades by scores of 25-10, 25-21 and 25-15.
VIU improved to 9-2, while UFV now sits at 7-4 ahead of Saturday’s rematch (1 p.m., pacwestbc.tv).
“When you let your opportunities slide, a team at that level is going to take advantage and that’s what they did tonight,” Cascades head coach Mike Gilray said. “I don’t want to take anything away from them – they played extremely well, and their errors were really low. We didn’t match their intensity, and they executed at a much higher level.”
The first set was all VIU, but the Cascades battled the hosts tooth and nail in the second, leading 21-20 in the late stages. The Mariners, though, reeled off the next five points to take a two-set lead, as UFV struggled with attacking errors. That was the match’s turning point, and VIU rode the momentum to another big win in the third.
Gilray noted that it was his team’s worst performance at the service line this season to date, but also saw reason for optimism as libero Amy Davidson and setter Olivia Heinen each saw their first game action off the bench after multi-game injury absences. Davidson came on in the second set and helped steady the Cascades’ defence, finishing with six digs.
Left sides Kim Bauder and Amanda Matsui led the UFV attack with eight and seven kills, respectively, and Matsui added a team-high seven digs. Middle Teagan Johnstone registered two blocks, and Bauder’s 2.3 serve-receive rating was a team high.
“We have to learn from it,” Gilray summarized. “We’re a better team than that, and we have to be prepared to meet them at their best.
“Tomorrow’s another measuring stick.”