The Cascades took the first two sets 25-17 and 25-20, but the third set went down to the wire. With the score tied 24-24, UFV took advantage of a Capilano hitting error to get to match point, and after a lengthy rally highlighted by a pair of huge digs by Cole Nutma, middle Connor Pruim ended matters with a stuff block.
The Cascades also beat the Blues in three sets (25-23, 25-21 and 25-19) at home on Friday. UFV finished a perfect 4-0 against the Blues, dropping just one set along the way.
Cascades head coach Kyle Donen felt his team’s performance on Friday had been inconsistent at times, and he was more satisfied with Saturday’s showing.
“We got the job done, and I think they (the Blues) played better as well tonight,” said Donen, whose team is now ranked eighth in the nation.
“Definitely some things for us to continue to improve upon, but we took some steps toward where we want to be.”
Left side Ben Friesen led the UFV offence with 11 kills, along with four blocks, four digs and an ace. Right side Joel Kleingeltink registered 10 kills, two aces, two blocks and four digs, and libero Isaiah Dahl had 16 digs.
The men’s team now has a record of 13 wins and three losses, and they are in second in the PacWest.
It was the opposite story for the injury-riddled Cascades women’s team, as they lost games on Friday and Saturday to the Blues.
With a starting setter Jessica Funk and left side Kim Bauder sidelined due to injury, the Cascades managed to hit the 20-point plateau in each set, but the Blues – ranked No. 10 in the nation – were just a bit stronger at the finish and prevailed by scores of 25-23, 25-21 and 25-20 on Friday.
Saturday in North Vancouver saw the Cascades’ comeback effort fall short as they dropped a four-set decision.
The Blues won the first two sets by scores of 25-20 and 25-18, but the Cascades bounced back to win the third – they raced out to a 19-11 lead and cruised to a 25-20 triumph.
UFV had the better of the play for much of the fourth set, building a 17-14 advantage. But the Blues responded with a 6-0 run out of a timeout to seize control, and though the Cascades were able to battle back and level the score 22-22, Capilano scored the last three points of the set to close things out.
UFV bench boss Mike Gilray felt his squad was out of sync in the first set, but were more connected in the second, third and fourth.
“I thought the team really responded and really got behind each other after that first set,” he analyzed. “We had good leads in all three sets, but they’re obviously a very good team with elite players. They’re the most experienced team in the league, and they were able to weather the storm in the fourth after we got hot.”
Gilray said the weekend was a good opportunity to give starts to some new players.
“It was a really good weekend as far as learning experiences,” Gilray said, noting that four different players made their first starts of the campaign against Capilano over the two-game series. “We had some opportunities to win more sets both nights, but we just didn’t get the outcome we wanted.”
The Cascades fell to 5-11, which leaves them sixth in the PacWest.
The UFV volleyball teams are in Victoria next weekend to face the Camosun Chargers. Games run Friday (women 6 p.m., men 8 p.m.) and Saturday (women 1 p.m., men 3 p.m.).
For more on the teams, visit ufvcascades.ca.