If there was any sluggish, holiday heaviness in the Douglas College Royals’ routine entering last week’s match against the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades, it had evaporated by the end of the game.
Motivated and rest combined to give the PacWest men’s volleyball league-leading Royals the upperhand in a pair of 3-0 sweeps of the Cascades in a home-and-home series to launch the second half of the season.
Although Douglas did have to fend off some fierce rallies and eke out a marathon 36-34 decision in the second set on the second day, the victories were just the kind of tone the squad wanted to set for the New Year.
That the last time the teams met, in the final game of 2019 six weeks ago in the New West gym, Fraser Valley handed the Royals just their second set loss of the season, ending a nine-match win streak.
That fueled their fire for Friday’s 3-0 decision in Abbotsford, where the visitors posted wins of 25-20, 25-22 and 25-15 to restart the season. The biggest test came in the second set, when the Cascades were ahead 10-6 and 18-17 before Douglas got on a roll, thanks to clutch kills by Max Haronga and a Greg Moore service ace, followed by a couple of UFV errors.
Max Haronga picked up 12 kills and three digs, while Matt Shand tallied 10 kills and five digs. Brother Ben Shand chipped in six kills, while New West native John Colobong notched seven digs on the day.
On the second day, this time in New West, the Royals took the first set 25-19, then went overtime to pull out the second set 36-34 in a battle that saw the visitors in the driver’s seat with a 24-22 advantage. After a lengthy exchange of points, Douglas struck for the winner on Haronga’s set-clinching ace. They closed out the sweep with a 25-17 triumph.
Leading the way Saturday was Haronga, with 15 kills and 10 digs, Reid Marriott, with 12 kills, and Colbong’s game- and career-high 22 digs.
The successful weekend pumped up Douglas’ record to 11-2, one-win ahead of second place Capilano.
The team is currently ranked No. 2 in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association, behind Ontario’s Humber Hawks.
DOUGLAS WOMEN EARN SPLIT WITH CASCADES
Getting back onto home court proved to be a good feeling for the Douglas College women’s Royals volleyball team.
On Saturday the Royals ramped it up and avenged a loss a day previous, beating the visiting University of the Fraser Valley 3-0 for the first win of 2020.
Powered by outside hitters Emma Schill and Grace Warkentin, Douglas fended off a persistent Cascades opponent to take the first set 25-22, then were called upon to rally after the visitors were poised to even the score with a 24-20 lead. A pair of back-to-back points from hitter Grace Mcgillivary, followed by a block by veteran Olivia Cesaretti, got the score even and led to six straight points and a 26-24 win.
They wrapped up the victory with a 25-18 decision in the third set.
League leader in both digs and digs per set Trisha He cashed in for 25 digs, while Schill and Warkentin combined for 25 kills.
The first game off the holiday break put Douglas on its heels, as Fraser Valley erased a 1-0 deficit for a 3-1 victory in Abbotsford.
The Royals took the first set of 2020 by a 25-19 score, going on a 13-4 roll midway and cashing out on a Mcgillivray kill. But Fraser Valley countered in the second set, erasing deficits of 16-11 and 23-22 with a pair of Amanda Matsui service aces.
The Cascades were in control much of the third set, winning 25-21, and out-lasted Douglas 25-21 for the deciding points.
Racking up 11 kills apiece in the loss were Jacey Neid and Schill, while Samantha Dodds contributed seven. He posted 21 digs, and Jane Kepler added 10.
With the split, the Royals sit tied for fourth overall at 6-7, two wins back of second place. They maintained their old on 13th place on the CCAA rankings. Douglas entertains the College of the Rockies for a pair of games this week, Thursday and Friday, 6 p.m. both nights, at the New West campus.