Story and photo credit: Brad McLeod, Cranbrook Daily Townsman
The defending champions are past the first hurdle to a repeat.
The College of the Rockies women's volleyball team defeated the University of Fraser Valley Cascades in the PACWEST Provincial quarterfinals last night and punched their ticket to a date with the top-seed, hometown Vancouver Island University Mariners in the semifinals.
It was a roller coaster of a match in Nanaimo. At times, it looked like they were on their way to comfortable victory and then moments later they were fighting for their lives.
The first set got off to a slow start for both COTR and UFV, with missed serves and errors dominating the opening dozen points.
Left side hitter Alexa Koshman and libero Megan Clark were noticeably sharp in the first set and led the team to a 20-14 lead. Although the Cascades made it a game, getting within one point near the end of the set, the Avs took the opener 25-23.
In the second, COTR came out blazing, taking a 11-2 lead before allowing UFV to tie it up 19-19. After struggling early, outside hitter Adriel Goodman landed some timely kills to lead them to a 25-21 win and 2-0 advantage.
The third set was tight but it was the Cascades stars who ending up taking over. Third-year left side hitter Rachel Funk was deadly, helping build up a 16-11 lead and eventually taking it 25-19.
The fourth set quickly started out in the Avs favour. Right side hitter Mikaela Pushor had an ace serve to snag the first point which led them to an early 11-2 lead.
Reminiscent of the second however, UFV came roaring back and brought the game to a 22-22 tie. Goodman once again sharpened up though and Pushor came through with an enormous block at the end of the night as they won 25-23.
On the men's side, while they played well, they were outlasted by a more consistent Douglas College Royals squad who won in five sets.
The first set went to COTR 25-20, the second to Douglas 25-17, the third back to COTR 25-22, the fourth to Douglas 25-19, and, finally, the fifth was 15-12 for the Royals.
The women will play their semifinal match tonight at 7 p.m. MST.
As the fourth seed, they should have their hands full with the number one spot VIU Mariners. In addition to having the best regular season record at 19-5, the team is the defending national champions.
The Avs, however, did win their last game against the Mariners with a 3-1 decision at home on January 7. The season series was 3-1 in favour of VIU.