Cascades players Dayton Pagliericci and Nick Bruce go into defensive mode in PacWest regular-season action.

UFV Cascades volleyball teams split Avalanche

UFV men’s, women’s volleyball teams battle COTR on home court

For the first time this season, the UFV Cascades men’s volleyball team tasted defeated on home court after falling to the College of the Rockies Avalanche in four sets on Sunday.

The men opened with a 25-19 win in the first set, but then lost 25-20, 25-21 and 26-24.

Sunday’s setback is the only blemish on the men’s record in Abbotsford, as they remain in second place in the PacWest with a record of eight wins and three losses.

“After the first set, we were a little flat,” said men’s head coach Kyle Donen said.

“I don’t think we pushed back as much as we should have – it just looked like we were down on our energy for whatever reason. We almost looked like the team that had played their fourth match.

“Maybe it’s just that yesterday [Saturday] wasn’t as much of a fight and we weren’t expecting the fight back that they brought. One of their better players [Toze] played really well today and made it difficult for us to contain him. Overall I felt we could have been a lot stronger, but kudos to them – they were a lot stronger tonight.”

Ben Friesen (14 kills) and Joel Kleingeltink (13 kills) set the pace offensively for the Cascades, and Matt Whittall registered three aces.

Sunday’s result came off a four set win for the Cascades against the Avalanche on Saturday, as the team won 25-13, 25-15, 26-28 and 25-23.

“The first two sets, we were really solid – I didn’t think they had much of a push-back,” Donen said. “Maybe they lulled us to sleep a little bit. We had an early lead in the third set, too, we just let them back in, which we can’t do.

“We were definitely solid in those first two sets, and then when they finally started to play, we didn’t quite respond right away… We need to be a little bit smarter, a little more consistent throughout the set.”

The Cascades got a huge game from Dayton Pagliericci – the third-year middle racked up a team-leading 14 kills on just 16 attempts, and his four blocks were tied with Adam Frederickson for team-high honours.

Kleingeltink chipped in with 11 kills, and Whittall notched 10.

The Cascades women also earned a split with the Avalanche, winning on Saturday and losing on Sunday.

UFV swept COTR on Saturday, dispatching the visitors 25-18, 25-17 and 25-22. The Cascades were coming off a bye, and head coach Mike Gilray liked the way his team responded to the time off.

“When you have two weeks between games, it’s about how you’re going to come out,” he said. “It can be nice because you’re rested, or it can be tough because you’re rusty.”

Rachel Funk led the way offensively with 11 kills, fellow left side Kim Bauder had eight kills, and right side Cassidy Pearson chipped in with seven.

Pearson, making her first start as a Cascade, hit a sizzling 47 per cent.

“Cassidy gave us some balance on the right side, and the games where we’ve played our best we’ve been balanced offensively,” Gilray noted. “She gave us a real consistent game from that side, earning us multiple points per game with no errors.”

Sunday’s game saw the Avalanche jump out to a 2-0 set lead with scores of 25-20 and 25-23, but the Cascades bounced back in third by winning 25-22.

COTR then clinched the win with a 25-22 win in the fourth set.

“I think we’ve got to start loving the battle,” Gilray said. “There are no teams in this league that are going to give you a night off – you’ve got to expect the battle every game. Last night, it was really only a few points that made that lopsided win. You’ve got to be ready to go point-for-point with everybody and be able to handle the swings. We’re not handling them right now.”

The women sit in sixth place in the PacWest with a record of three wins and eight losses.

Both teams concluded the 2016 calendar year with games against the Capilano Blues in North Vancouver on Thursday night. Results were not available at press time.