The University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball team opened 2018 in promising fashion, seizing a four-set win over the Douglas Royals on Friday in New Westminster.
The CCAA No. 14-ranked Cascades took the first two sets by scores of 26-24 and 25-18, but the Royals bounced back to extend the match with a 25-23 triumph of their own in the third. UFV closed things out in the fourth, though, by a 27-25 score.
The result enabled the Cascades (7-6, third place in PACWEST) to increase their margin over the Royals (5-8, fifth place) in the conference standings. The two teams renew hostilities on Saturday (7 p.m., pacwestbc.tv) in New West.
“We got off to a roaring start, and I felt like it was one of the best starts we’ve had all year,” UFV head coach Kyle Donen said. “We showed the home team we were there to play, and that’s the way it felt for pretty much the whole match. Even though we dropped a set, it felt like we were in the driver’s seat the whole way. It was a complete team effort, and I felt like every guy performed well for us.”
Cascades got off to a quick 5-1 lead in the first set, highlighted by attacks from left sides Nick Bruce and Ben Friesen. They led by as many as six points (17-11) midway through the frame, and while the Royals battled back to tie it 21-21 and 24-24, UFV managed the last two points to take the win.
Bruce once again dominated at the net with sturdy blocks and strong hits in the second set which gave UFV an 8-3 lead. The Royals had some strong rallies but UFV maintained comfortable leads at 12-6 and 17-10, and finished off the set from there.
Douglas clawed out a win in the third, and the fourth was a hard-fought affair as well. Cascades setter Adam Frederickson ran the offence efficiently down the stretch, though, and Bruce’s dynamic serves helped seal a 27-25 win to close out the match.
Fifth-year standout Bruce had a typically outstanding performance: 14 kills, five blocks, three aces and seven digs. But he had plenty of support. Friesen and Matt Whittall notched 10 kills apiece, middles Dayton Pagliericci (eight kills) and Josh Fefchak (five kills) also contributed offensively, and Frederickson registered 42 set assists in what Donen termed “probably his best setting game of the season.” Libero Evan Bell-Foley led the defence with 12 digs as the Cascades combined for one of their most stable passing matches of the campaign.
– by Raelyn O’Hara, UFV Athletics communications assistant