The first semester of PACWEST volleyball will conclude this weekend as athletes get ready to hunker down for exams. Before that can happen however it’s PACWEST Spike Night when the VIU Mariners (9-1) host UFV Cascades (5-5) on Friday.
The Mariners are on a role winning nine of their first 10 matches this season and have won five straight following a five set loss to the Capilano Blues on November 3rd. They are collecting 13.3 kills per set and 10.4 digs. Braydon Brouwer has been outstanding averaging a Conference high 4.2 kills a set and has tallied 137 overall. Teammate Jeff Webb has been just as good with 139 kills, 17 aces and 167 total offensive points.
This will be the first time these two schools have met since January, and the first time they play at VIU since October 2016. Last year the Mariners won three of four matches with the Cascades.
Mariners head coach Abe Avender would like nothing more than to go into the semester break on a high note, “Coming into our final week of competition for the first semester, we are hoping to continue our recent success. We take a lot of pride competing in our home gym and making it a difficult place to play in for visiting teams. UFV has a strong veteran core and their recent three game winning streak will bring some increased confidence and present a challenge for us this weekend. It is only our second home weekend of the semester so I know the guys are excited to play in our gym heading into the Christmas exams. Our goal is to compete at our highest level and finish the semester with a lot momentum moving forward into the holidays and second semester.”
The Cascades on the other hand will play on the road for the first time this semester, other than one match at CBC to open the campaign. Granted the match is in the opposition’s gymnasium, however they didn’t need to leave the city to play the match.
They have really picked up their play as of late, winning three straight and four of their last five. Their offence has started clicking averaging 10 kills per set and 9.5 assists. Nick Bruce has led the way averaging 3.5 kills per set, the fourth best average in the Conference. Reigning Athlete of the Week Ben Friesen has also been solid tallying 81 kills in 30 sets played.
“We are looking to continue our winning ways,” says head coach Kyle Donen. “We are feeling good about our game heading onto the road. We have had some great battles with VIU the last couple years and I hope the trend continues. This is a good test for us to finish off the semester.”
The Mariners and Cascades will square off at VIU on Friday and Saturday, then won’t be back on the court until January 5-6, 2018.