Avalanche edge Cascades men’s volleyballers in five-set thriller

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball team suffered a five-set defeat at the hands of the College of the Rockies Avalanche on Friday evening in Cranbrook.

In a game of wild momentum swings, the Avalanche took the opening set in decisive fashion, 25-16, but the Cascades came roaring back to claim the next two by 25-20 and 25-19 scores. The Avalanche extended the match with a 25-19 win in the fourth, and they scored four of the last five points in the fifth to seal the victory 15-12.

Dayton Pagliericci had a big night for the Cascades, racking up a team-high 11 kills. (UFV Athletics file photo)

The Avalanche (5-18) moved ahead of the Columbia Bible College Bearcats to take sole possession of sixth place in the PACWEST, while the fifth-place Cascades fell to 9-12.

“It was a bit of a roller-coaster-type game for us,” UFV head coach Kyle Donen said afterward. “I felt like we were fighting the ball like crazy, especially on defence. That definitely posed a challenge for us, but we were in position to win that game. We just didn’t have that last little bit that we needed.”

Middle Dayton Pagliericci paced the UFV offence with 11 kills, right side Matt Whittall notched 10, and left side Ben Friesen chipped in with seven. Carter Bronson’s eight digs led the team, and Whittall pounded four aces.

Donen was pleased with the play of his young players. The Cascades were without kills leader Nick Bruce on Friday – he was sidelined due to injury, though Donen said there’s a chance he plays in Saturday’s rematch (3 p.m. MT, pacwestbc.tv). Rookie Justin Peleshytyk started at left side in Bruce’s absence, and grew stronger as the game wore on. Additionally, sophomore Graeme Hughes and first-years Lucas Mantel and Brendan Loewen gave the team a spark off the bench in the fourth set.

“It wasn’t a picture-perfect game, but at the same time, it was good growth for us to see some young guys come in and play some roles,” Donen said.

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