The Capilano Blues men’s volleyball team took home a PacWest medal for the first time in six years, earning bronze at the provincial championships held last week in Cranbrook.
The third-ranked Blues came up big in the consolation final Saturday, defeating the top-seeded Douglas College Royals – ranked third in the country coming into the PacWest championships – in a 3-0 sweep to finish on the podium. The win came one day after Capilano lost 3-1 in the semifinals to second-ranked Camosun. The Blues opened the tournament with a 3-0 win over Columbia Bible College.
"It was obviously a little disappointing [to lose in the semis] last night, and the bronze medal match can be a tough one to play, so it's nice to see that the boys were really dialed in and doing their homework, and really going to work on our game plan and executing it," stated head coach Dave Dooley in a release. "If we would've had that spirit yesterday I think it would've been a different story."
Fourth-year setter Simon Friesen was named Player of the Match following the bronze final, racking up 26 assists, four digs, three kills and a block. Friesen was also named to the tournament all-star team. Justin Yee led the team with eight kills and four blocks in the bronze medal match, while Zarley Zalusky had six kills and three blocks and Markiel Simpson also racked up six kills.
"For us [the key] was just execution on the offensive side,” said Dooley, who claims a medal in his first season as head coach with the Blues. “We play very well defensively and pass very well, and yesterday we failed to execute – our outside attackers in particular – and today they did a much better job."
The Blues hadn't hit the podium since claiming gold in the 2012-13 season.
"It feels great. I think it was a really good team win," said Friesen after the win. "We worked really hard this season, so it's good to have something to show for the season. [Our key] was to talk a lot and be the loudest team on the floor; that's kind of our game style, and it worked for us today as well.”