Mariners set to test UFV volleyball teams

Cascades challenging pair of top teams in the country this weekend

With the Pacwest Volleyball Provincials coming to their home court in three weeks, the UFV Cascades men’s and women’s volleyball teams will have a preview today (Friday) and tomorrow (Saturday) of some of the competition they will have to beat to advance.

The VIU Mariners teams come to town this weekend ranked first (men’s) and third (women’s) in the country.

The UFV women, ranked seventh in the country, are hoping to recover after mixed results against the Capilano Blues last weekend.

The club lost in three sets to the Capilano Blues on Jan. 25, but then bounced back for a three-set win over the same squad last Saturday. They’ll be tested at a high level against VIU as they seek to establish the consistency that head coach Mike Gilray craves.

“I’d rather have consistent every night than perfect once in a while,” Gilray said.

“Like it has been all season, it’s about taking care of our side and slowing down some of their strengths. They’re a good team – they’re going to score, they have weapons at all positions. We’ve got to look to slow them down and put them under a bit of pressure so they’re not in their first-tempo offence all the time.”

Gilray said the Mariners are coming to town at a perfect time for his club, as they try to build to a deep playoff run.

“This is a real good test for us to see where we’re at going into our last couple (regular season) weekends and getting ready for provincials here. That’s the quality of team we’re going to have to beat if we want to move on to nationals, right?”

The men, who sit 15th in the country, are set to welcome the top team in the country in the Mariners.

UFV is one of the few teams to have downed VIU this season, beating them on their home court in Nanaimo back on Nov. 24.

“They’re an experienced team, and they have two setters who have really done a good job distributing the ball for their team, which makes them a difficult offensive team to play against,” Cascades head coach Kyle Donen said.

“The other part of the game that they do really well is, they’re a good serving team. They put teams under pressure from the service line. A goal for us this weekend is to be good in our serve receive game, and give ourselves a chance to fire on all cylinders.”

Games occur at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. today and 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday.

The Cascades then head to Cranbrook to battle the College of the Rockies, before concluding the regular season with games against the CBC Bearcats in Abbotsford.

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