High five

Men’s volleyball caps off regular season with a win in five sets

By Eric Wilkins, Sports Editor

The men’s volleyball team hosted the Capilano University Blues on February 15 and closed out their regular season in style. Coming off a loss the previous night in Capilano’s gym, the Royals came out determined to give fifth-year middle Andrew Robson a worthy final home game. A win in five sets seemed appropriate.

“He really symbolizes what this program’s been about. When he got here, the program hadn’t been to provincials in eight years. We’ve all had to work exceptionally hard to try and grow this program into something that we could all be proud of. Andy’s the type of guy that really embodies what we’re all about. He wasn’t the most highly recruited player. Not the biggest middle. Not the fastest middle. But he’s persevered and he’s been tough and he’s grown. And clearly a good teammate—the team responded for him,” said coach Brad Hudson of Robson.

The first set established the tone for the game. Nothing was going to come easy to either squad. The largest lead in the opener was a mere four points with Douglas generally just on top. Highlights from the set included an ace from outside hitter Andrew McWilliam, and fellow outside hitter Drew Ruby winning a joust at the net. Middle Ahmad Mustafa Haq picked up a sprained ankle late in the set, but the team hopes he can suit up next week. First set score: 26-24 for Douglas.

The second set, despite another strong effort from the team, was to be a mirror of the first, with Capilano taking it 26-24. The third wasn’t to be Douglas’ either—the Blues winning again: 25-19. The final sets were to be a different story, though. Thanks in part to some strong play at the net from setter Caleb Konrad, middle Nicholas Bridle, outside hitter George Thompson, and Robson, the Royals made like Matt and Kim with block after block. A 25-20 win would be the reward for their efforts.

The final set was fought for tooth-and-nail by the teams, but Douglas would take the day. Down 14-13, Capilano took a final timeout to strategize—before drilling the ball into the net. Douglas took home the fifth 15-13 for a 3-2 victory.

Thompson said after the game that a provincial win is well within the team’s grasp. “If we step up and play the volleyball on our side of the net that we know we can play, then I think it’s definitely possible for us to take the title.”

Being a fellow Delta Secondary graduate, Thompson had something to say about Robson as well: “We went to the same high school, so he’s really been an inspiration to me, playing all the way since I started in Grade 10. Been a role model. A big leader. He’s part of the reason I came to Douglas. It’s been great to be able to play with him.”

Robson was happy with the win, saying, “It’s good to go out that way.” He remarked on his time at Douglas, “They [the five years] mean everything. It’s obviously something I’ll never forget—huge part of my life. So many friends.”

The team will now look to punch their ticket to nationals, heading to provincials as the third seed.