Strong start for UFV volleyball

Women sweep Camosun, men split against top-ranked Chargers

UFV's Nicole Blandford tips a shot over the net during Pacwest volleyball action on Friday.

UFV's Nicole Blandford tips a shot over the net during Pacwest volleyball action on Friday.

The UFV Cascades men’s and women’s volleyball teams came out of the Christmas break hot, winning three of four games against the Camosun Chargers.

The women opened on Friday with a three-set sweep (25-18, 25-23, 25-18). The Cascades fell behind 6-0 early in set two, only to battle back and draw even at 17 to rally late and win. The third set saw UFV jump out to a 20-12 lead, and cruise to the win.

“It’s a great way to start off the second half of the season,” said women’s team head coach Mike Gilray. “I thought our passing today was the best it’s been all year. We also did a good job shutting down their best hitter Michelle Zygmunt (UFV and Mouat grad).”

The women continued their strong play on Saturday, disposing of the Chargers in four sets (25-18, 19-25, 25-20, 25-22). Gilray said it was a better effort for his club on Saturday.

“The thing that made it exciting for us was we played such a better volleyball game (than on Friday),” he said. “It was nice to pull out the win last night, but if you look at the stats, it was a sloppy game for both sides low percentages hitting, bad passing stats. We had a much more consistent game today.”

The pair of wins improve the women to a record of six wins and eight losses on the Pacwest season.

The men also had a strong weekend, pushing the undefeated Camosun Chargers to the brink on Friday, and then handing the Chargers their first loss of the season on Saturday.

UFV went to a fifth and deciding set with Camosun on Friday, and had an 8-6 lead in set five, before falling 15-12 in the final frame. Camosun won 3-2 (23-25, 25-21, 21-25, 25-22, 15-12), and it was the second time this season that the Cascades lost in five sets to the Chargers.

However, that would change on Saturday, as UFV got over the hump and handed the Chargers their first loss (21-25, 26-24, 25-22, 19-25, 15-9) of the season.

“This gives us huge momentum and confidence going forward,” said Cascades head coach Kyle Donen. “This is just one game in the second semester, and we know if we can string a few more like that together, it’ll mean more when it comes to the playoffs and everything else. For us to beat that team, and to do it the way we did, it’ll mean a lot for these guys.”

The win moves the Cascades’ record to eight wins and six losses, and they sit third in the Pacwest.

Both the men’s and the women’s teams hit the road starting on Friday, when they travel to Nanaimo to take on the Vancouver Island University Mariners.

The next home game for the teams is on Jan. 30, when the College of the Rockies Avalanche come to Abbotsford.