The University of the Fraser Valley women’s volleyball team had to dig deep to deny the Camosun Chargers their first victory of the season, rallying from a two-set deficit to win in five on Saturday afternoon in Victoria.
The host Chargers caught fire midway through the first set, winning it 25-17 and then building a 21-14 lead in the second. The Cascades, coming off a four-set win over the Chargers on Friday, found some traction at that point, battling back to draw even at 22-22. But Camosun took the next three points to go up two sets to none.
UFV, ranked No. 7 in the nation, lived up to that lofty billing in the third set, racing out to leads of 11-2 and 16-3 behind service runs from Olivia Heinen and Amanda Matsui, en route to a 25-11 win. They followed with a hard-fought victory in the fourth, 25-20.
In the fifth, with the score tied 8-8, back-to-back Matsui kills swung the momentum the Cascades’ way, and they went on to seal the match 15-12.
UFV improved to 10-6, tied for third in the PACWEST, while the last-place Chargers are 0-14.
“The biggest thing about this weekend is what you learn going to five and pulling out a win after being down 2-0 against the hungriest team in the league,” Cascades head coach Mike Gilray enthused. “There’s a good chance this (Camosun) team goes on a winning streak – they’re good, and they’ve got a great young coach who’s keeping their spirits high. But we had good leadership and communication on the court.”
Matsui pounded a team-high 21 kills to go with 15 digs, and fellow left side Kim Bauder also notched a double-double with 13 kills and 22 digs. Setter Heinen racked up 48 assists and added 11 digs, and libero Cassidy King made it four Cascades with double-digit digs with 20 of her own.
Middle Keira Fisher notched five kills, and Chelsea Kidd came off the bench for four kills on an error-free 11 swings, including the final point of the match.
“What I’m excited about is our depth,” said Gilray, noting that Kidd, Kara Williams and Teagan Johnstone were among the standouts off the bench on Saturday. “We know we have our workhorses in our outside hitters, but we had different people contribute today and we’ve had a different lineup almost every weekend.
“It was fun to watch – to see them learning on the court, through adversity. Not everything was smooth today, and to push and battle through was good to see.”
The Cascades volleyball teams are on a bye next week, and return to action with road games against the Capilano Blues, Jan. 25 and 27.