The University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball team dropped a four-set decision to the visiting Vancouver Island University Mariners on the opening night of the PACWEST season.
Playing at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre on Friday, the Mariners took the first two sets by scores of 25-20 and 25-21, but the youthful Cascades showed some grit to win the third set 25-21 behind some strong serving from Josh Fefchak. VIU, though, ironed things out in the fourth, closing out the match by a 25-16 count.
The two teams lock horns again on Saturday afternoon (3 p.m., EFAC).
“I thought we started a little bit slow overall,” UFV head coach Kyle Donen analyzed. “Our serve-pass game looked a bit shaky, and I don’t think we really ever found a rhythm.
“But I saw some spurts of good volleyball from us tonight. This is a tough team to be playing on our first weekend. . . . I don’t think they were at their best, either, and I think we had a chance to win that match if we were a little more consistent.”
Fourth-year captain Ben Friesen paced the Cascades’ offence with 12 kills. Outside hitters Landon Uy (seven kills) and Matt Whittall (six) also chipped in offensively, and middles Fefchak and Ian Jagersma had five kills apiece.
Uy (11) and Friesen (10) registered double-digit digs, and Fefchak racked up four aces.
Donen was particularly pleased with the play of his middles – starters Fefchak and Jagersma, and rookie Jackson Obst off the bench. Donen, in fact, made liberal use of his bench throughout the match, and felt the Cascades’ depth sparked the squad.
“The guys off the bench performed well, and gave us that little bit of life when it looked like we were down and out at times,” Donen said.