In between a pair of significant on-court ceremonies on Friday evening, the University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball team picked up a four-set win over the Columbia Bible College Bearcats.
The game began with Senior Night festivities – Cascades fifth-year left side Nick Bruce was honoured for playing his final regular-season home game at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre. And after the match wrapped up, Cascades middle Dayton Pagliericci grabbed the mic, invited his girlfriend Jenelle Stolberg Macdonald to centre court, and asked her to marry him. She said yes.
As for the match itself, the Cascades struggled late in the first set and dropped it by a 25-21 score, but came roaring back to win the next three, 25-22, 25-18, 25-18.
“Not a good start, obviously,” Cascades head coach Kyle Donen analyzed afterward, referring to the opening set. “We kind of tripped at the finish line in the first, but we were able to bounce back. I thought we calmed down and cleaned things up (in sets 2-4).
“I want to see us sustain that kind of pressure for a whole match.”
The Cascades improved to 11-12 in PACWEST play, which leaves them tied with the Douglas Royals for fourth place heading into the regular-season finale on Saturday at Columbia Bible College (women 5 p.m., men 7 p.m.).
The Bearcats, meanwhile, sit seventh in the league at 4-19, and face a must-win situation Saturday at home in order to leapfrog the College of the Rockies Avalanche and punch their playoff ticket.
Bruce starred on Senior Night, racking up a team-leading 14 kills and tying libero Evan Bell-Foley for team-high honours with 10 digs. Right side Matt Whittall notched 11 kills, and left side Ben Friesen had 10 kills and two aces.
“I thought Nick had an outstanding final game,” Donen said. “It’s a great accomplishment to play an entire five-year career. We’re really proud of what he’s accomplished, but we’re hoping to extend his career by a couple weeks.
“And Dayton, I’m super-happy for him. I’ve been around from the beginning of his playing career at UFV, and from the beginning of his relationship. It’s been fun to watch that grow.”
The PACWEST regular season may be nearing its conclusion, but the Cascades volleyball teams still have more home games to come as they’re poised to host the PACWEST men’s and women’s volleyball championships next week. That event runs Feb. 22-24 at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre. The schedule will be finalized after Saturday’s matches.