Clan defeat Falcons in five game thriller

Lisa Dimyadi / The Peak

Thursday night the SFU women’s volleyball team played host to the Seattle Pacific Falcons in what I can only describe as one of the best SFU athletics games I have ever seen. The team battled back from being down two games to none and won it in five games, and won the last set by just two points.

SFU started terribly. After scoring the first point of the game, they conceded next eight straight points and were quickly down by a lot. SFU crawled back later on to make it 17–13, but Seattle Pacific then took control and won the set 25–18. The second set wasn’t any better. After taking an early 2–1 lead, Seattle Pacific once again took control, making a number of great digs and winning the set 25–22.

“I basically asked them, ‘can we play better’?” said head coach Gina Schmidt, referring to her team talk after the first two sets. “I was at a little bit of a loss. I hadn’t seen us come out that slow in a match yet this season, and I was at a loss as to who to put back on the floor [. . .] Is it insanity to keep doing the same thing, to put the same people out? Or can we just play better? I had confidence that they could, because I’ve seen us play better.

The third set belonged to SFU. This time they were able to get off to a great start, and never trailed in the entire set. Seattle Pacific hit a couple of their serves into the net, certainly in large part due to the SFU football team that was in attendance: they did their best to distract the opposing players and get the crowd riled up. In the fourth set, momentum was strongly in the Clan’s favour. They once again got off to an early lead, and after a fantastic back and forth rally made it 20–16, they won the set 25–20.

But the best was yet to come. The fifth set started off poorly for SFU, as they were down 8–1 early on. But after, it was an extremely tense back and forth affair. Fortune seemed to favour SFU when two Seattle Pacific players collided and allowed SFU to tie it 12–12. “I was just thinking ‘it’s just a game’” said player Christine Howlett afterwards. “That calms me down.” After a SFU time out at 14–14, the team scored the next two points, winning the set 16–14 and capping off a miraculous comeback.

“We’ve been in a lot of those situations this season, in terms of five set matches. I felt like we’ve been there before, and that for some reason find ways to win when we’re up against the wall. Our team has shown a lot of character in those situations so far.”

The team’s next game will be on the road against Northwest Nazarene University.