Men’s volleyball team misses out on nationals

After a superb season the Blues men’s volleyball team finishes with no medals but hope for next year

JUSTIN SCOTT // MANAGING EDITOR

Although the Capilano University Blues men’s volleyball team started their season with a goal of medaling, they quickly changed it to getting gold. “After the first two weekends we smoked UFV [University of the Fraser Valley] and beat Douglas and were 4-0 and were like, ‘okay, we could do something here this year, we’ve got a good enough team to go all the way’,” said second year Pacific Western Athletic Association (PACWEST) First Team All-Star middle Zarley Zalusky. “That’s when our goal changed from maybe medaling at provincials to winning provincials and going to nationals.”

Unfortunately, the team did neither. After finishing the season with the second seed, the Blues secured a bye to the provincial playoffs semi-finals where they met the defending champions, the Camosun Chargers. After dropping a close first set 25-22, the men stormed back and won the second set with an authoritative 25-17. However, the Chargers won the next two sets and secured their road to the finals, where they completed a PACWEST four-peat the next day.

The Blues on the other hand, dropped the bronze medal game on Saturday, missing out on a podium finish. “Saturday was rough,” Zalusky said. “Losing to Camosun, we played well and it was a tough game, obviously it sucked, but losing to Douglas in the bronze game… we beat them all year. They didn’t beat us once.”

Photo c/o Vancouver Sports Pictures

A weekend that had much hope and potential quickly turned into a forgettable one. “I’m not really too sure what happened actually,” said second year libero Jonathan Lee. “The first night that we got there on Thursday, we had a practice in the morning and then a practice at night, and the practice at night was really good, so I thought that we were going to be ok the next day.”

Unfortunately, they weren’t. By no means did the Blues play poorly, they were just bested. “I think we played really well that game, it was just obviously unfortunate that we lost,” Lee added.

However, while neither the team’s original goal, nor updated goal, were met, it’s not all bad. Aside from a few key players like first year Jacob Hopkins, who was named to the PACWEST All-Rookie Team, the majority of the team’s core should be dawning the Blues jersey again next season. “We’ve got a good group of guys that are returning and hopefully we’ll have some new guys coming in next year who can step in and make a difference,” Zalusky said.

Additionally, the team grew and improved this season under the guidance of the PACWEST Coach of the Year Emmanuel Denguessi. “Our passing got a lot better this year,” said Lee. “It was a lot more confident I would say for a lot guys.”

For now, though, the team is still recovering from the weekend’s defeats. “Right now, I’m just kind of resting and just trying to forget everything that happened,” Zalusky said. “I’m sure that in a couple of weeks I’ll go back and revisit it and watch more tape and see what I need to work on this off-season.”

Until next season though, the team will have to live with the memories of this year’s underwhelming playoff run. “It was tough, we feel like we should have been provincial champions,” said Zalusky. “I’m not saying that, it’s not an excuse for why we lost, but in our minds, we’re the best team in the league and in our minds we should have been the team with that gold medal on our necks going to nationals.”

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