Strong finish sparks undefeated Fraser Valley past North West in girls volleyball
A ragged start gave way to an electric finish for the Fraser Valley girls volleyball squad as they ran their record to 2-0 in pool play at the BC Summer Games on Friday morning.
Fraser Valley (Zone 3) was facing North West (Zone 7) at the Envision Athletic Centre on the University of the Fraser Valley’s Abbotsford campus, and both teams struggled in the first set. Hitting and passing errors were frequent throughout, but the Fraser Valley managed to grind out a 25-23 win.
The second set couldn’t have been more different – the Valley raced out to leads of 3-0 and 10-3, en route to a decisive 25-10 triumph to close out the best-of-three match.
“It was almost like two different matches,” Fraser Valley coach Duncan Harrison noted. “In the first set, both teams were fighting hard, but it was kind of ugly volleyball – not a lot of good execution, a lot of broken-play stuff. I thought the second group we threw on the floor really brought a calm and a great energy. They weren’t letting balls hit the floor, and they weren’t panicking. When we made mistakes, we really recovered quickly. We didn’t let one error turn into two or three errors. That was the difference.”
Harrison identified the play of left side Robin Marriott as being pivotal to his team’s second-set success. The Langley Christian student went on a lengthy service run late in the set to help seal the victory, and her energy throughout seemed to spark her squad.
Volleyball’s rally-point format lends itself to significant momentum swings, and Marriott said it’s crucial to maintain a positive mental outlook.
“It comes a lot down to communication,” she analyzed. “When you’re talking and getting excited about things and not getting down on yourselves, even if you’ve shanked a point, that’s a big part of being able to stay at a steady pace throughout the match. Whereas if you aren’t talking and you don’t have that energy, it’s really easy for your mood to go up and down. That’s really dangerous in volleyball, because it’s such an emotional game and the score will fluctuate based on that. I think it has a lot to do with that whole energy and mentality of not giving up.”
Marriott said that being part of the host squad at the BC Games is a unique experience.
“It’s nice, kind of familiar,” she said. “We feel a bit of pressure to make sure we’re setting a great example, but the girls on our team are just great. I’m so lucky to be playing with them, and I think we’re representing Abbotsford well.”
In other Round 3 pool-play action, Thompson-Okanagan edged the Kootenays in three sets to match the Fraser Valley’s 2-0 record in Pool C. The two teams clash at 2:20 p.m. this afternoon with first place in the pool on the line.
“I think it’ll be a good match,” Harrison predicted. “They’re always a strong team, and it’s a battle for first in the pool. Hopefully we bring our A game and step it up.
“You can never complain too much when you’re undefeated . . . but there are certainly some things we want to clean up come playoff time. We don’t feel we’re playing at our maximum capability compared to how we train, but we feel like we’re taking steps forward.”
by Dan Kinvig