Nick Bruce and the Cascades earned a weekend sweep of the Douglas Royals on the road.

UFV volleyball teams win three of four on the road

Cascades men’s, women’s teams excel against Douglas College

The UFV Cascades men’s and women’s volleyball teams started off the 2018 PACWEST schedule on a high note, winning three of four games over the Douglas College Royals on the road over the weekend.

The men earned a sweep in New Westminster, and are now ranked 14th in the country.

After grinding out a 25-22 first-set win to open, they found their form over the last two sets, closing out the match 25-19 and 25-14.

“I thought Douglas came out better in the first set, and we did a good job to weather the storm a little bit,” Cascades head coach Kyle Donen analyzed. “So taking that first set felt like it put us in the driver’s seat. In the second set we kind of took control, and then in the third we ran away with it. It was another good team effort top-to-bottom – everyone played well.”

UFV’s offence was incredibly balanced, as they managed to win decisively despite not having any players in double-digit kills. With setter Adam Frederickson at the controls, Nick Bruce, Ben Friesen and Dayton Pagliericci tied for team-high honours with seven kills apiece, and Matt Whittall had six.

Pagliericci and Frederickson had two blocks each, and Pagliericci and Friesen both notched a pair of aces. Bruce had eight digs and libero Evan Bell-Foley registered seven.

Saturday’s win came on the heels of the men posting a four-set win over the Royals on Friday.

The Cascades took the first two sets by scores of 26-24 and 25-18, but the Royals bounced back to extend the match with a 25-23 triumph of their own in the third. UFV closed things out in the fourth, though, by a 27-25 score.

“We got off to a roaring start, and I felt like it was one of the best starts we’ve had all year,” Donen said. “We showed the home team we were there to play, and that’s the way it felt for pretty much the whole match. Even though we dropped a set, it felt like we were in the driver’s seat the whole way. It was a complete team effort, and I felt like every guy performed well for us.”

Fifth-year standout Bruce had an outstanding performance: 14 kills, five blocks, three aces and seven digs. He earned PACWEST player of the week honours for his pair of games against the Royals.

The men’s record moves to eight wins and six losses on the season, and they are third in the conference.

The women’s team earned one of its biggest wins of the year on Friday, by knocking off one of the best teams in the country – the Royals – on the road.

After an inconsistent performance in the first set, the Cascades battled back to win the next three (17-25, 25-19, 25-20, 25-21) and claim the win.

“Douglas is a team that plays with a lot of emotion and energy, and our girls recognized that and felt we needed a little more ourselves,” UFV head coach Mike Gilray said. “Our girls, despite a tough start to the night, said we love this game and let’s put our best foot forward.”

Rookie left side Amanda Matsui had an outstanding performance, leading the Cascades in both kills (13) and digs (16). But it was the middles who were the difference-makers offensively for UFV. Fisher (10 kills) and Hanna Hieltjes (seven kills) were both prolific and efficient, with just one attacking error each.

The Cascades’ strong play didn’t continue on Saturday, as the women fell in three sets (25-17, 25-17, 25-22) to the Royals.

“Oddly enough, we didn’t stick to what we were doing well yesterday,” Gilray said. “We didn’t play the ball to areas of the court where we could put them in trouble. We hit it to their libero a lot.”

The women’s record now sits at eight wins and six losses, and they rank third in the conference.

The Cascades volleyball teams are back on the road this weekend, as they head to Victoria for a Friday-Saturday set vs. the Camosun Chargers.

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