Sports

M's win one against No. 1 team

Vancouver Island University Mariners player Paige Wiebe bumps the ball during a match this past weekend in Abbotsford against the Fraser Valley Cascades. The PacWest’s top two teams split the two matches. - JOHN MORROW/Black Press
Vancouver Island University Mariners player Paige Wiebe bumps the ball during a match this past weekend in Abbotsford against the Fraser Valley Cascades. The PacWest’s top two teams split the two matches.
— image credit: JOHN MORROW/Black Press

Highly anticipated matches between the nation’s top-ranked college volleyball teams didn’t settle very much.

The Vancouver Island University Mariners (17-3) and the Fraser Valley Cascades (18-2) split a pair of women’s v-ball matches Friday and Saturday in Abbotsford. The M’s won the first night 25-21, 25-19, 18-25, 25-20, but lost the rematch 25-23, 25-15, 16-25, 19-25, 15-11.

“When you play a team of that calibre you could play them one night and beat them, the next day you could lose to them,” said Shane Hyde, coach of the Mariners.

He said his team did a good job getting itself worked up for Friday’s showdown – too much so, perhaps, as he saw a few nerves.

“We waded through it Friday night and we slowly improved our game and beat them in four, not playing our best volleyball,” he said.

The calibre of play was nevertheless outstanding, Hyde said, with rallies that left him shaking his head.

After Friday’s big win, it was hard to replicate the intensity Saturday, said the coach.

“Whereas the team that’s lost, they’re not happy with their loss the night before so they come out a little bit more fired up and that’s exactly what happened.”

Saturday’s match saw each team hold momentum, and the fifth set was 8-8 before the Cascades gained control.

“We’re one and two in the country right now for a reason, and there’s not much between us…” said Dennis Bokenfohr, Cascades coach.

VIU’s men’s volleyball team (14-6), meanwhile, swept its matches against UFV (2-18), winning in straight sets both days. The M’s won 25-12, 25-23, 25-20 on Friday, then 25-12, 25-22, 25-12 on Saturday.

GAME ON … The Mariners host the Douglas Royals on Friday (Feb. 8) and Saturday at the VIU gymnasium. Friday’s women’s match is at 6 p.m., followed by the men at 8 p.m.

-with files from Dan Kinvig

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