KELOWNA, BC - The UBC Okanagan Heat men’s volleyball team fell in four sets against the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, who took the Saturday night match 3-1 in Kelowna. Set scores were 25-21, 25-22, 23-25, 34-32.
Far and away the most exciting set of the match was the fourth. At the technical time-out set the Heat were up 16-13. A huge kill down the line by Kyle Hinchey gave the Heat set point at 24-21, before a pair of Saskatchewan kills and a Heat attack error gave the Huskies three straight to tie it up at 24-24. UBCO had set point again at 25-24, but a kill by Andrew Nelson tied it up at 25-25. A pair of Heat service errors erased the third and fourth UBCO set points, and a Colin Fraser kill negated the fifth. A huge block by the Huskies gave them their first set point, but they also committed a service error, tying the score up at 29. Nelson gave the Huskies their second set point, but an enormous kill by Lars Bornemann tied the score at 30-30. Three Huskies’ set points later, each earned by kills from Nelson, Saskatchewan took the set 34-32, and the match 3-1, as a Heat attack fell just outside the line.
Andrew Nelson of Saskatchewan finished with a match-high 24 kills. Behind him for the Huskies were Tyler Epp (11) and Colin Fraser (9).
For the Heat it was Lars Bornemann heading up the attack, with 19 kills. Two first year players set career best marks tonight as Kyle Hinchey finished with 15, and Rhys Flett with eight on 19 swings (.368). Hinchey has double digit kills in six matches in his 18 match career ans his 15 kills edges the 14 he put down in Winnipeg (01/14/17).
Alex Swiatlowski also went fro double digits with 12. Eli Risso finished with a match-high 18 digs, and Jon Russo had a match-high 45 assists.
The Huskies finished with the better hitting night, putting away 64 kills on a .265 hitting percentage, while the Heat had 59 kills and hit .226. Assists were 60-56 for Saskatchewan, who also had the advantage in service aces, 3-2. Digs were 60-57 for the Huskies, and total blocks were 12-9 for UBCO.The Huskies took the opening set on Saturday night, 25-21. Their hitting was much more consistent than the Heat’s in the frame, and that was the difference. Saskatchewan put away 12 kills to the Heat’s 11, but only made two errors and hit .323 while UBCO hit .097 with eight errors. The momentum began to go the Huskies’ way when they put together their first three-point run to take a 6-4 lead. Two more three-point runs put them up 15-9 and then 18-12, and for the remainder of the set they only allowed the home side to score consecutive points once, when the Heat score five straight to pull within three points at 22-19. The teams traded points for the remainder of the set, and the final point for the Huskies came on the Heat’s eighth error of the set.
In the second set the Huskies jumped ahead early, but couldn’t extend their lead beyond three points, up 7-4. The Heat then tied it at 7-7, again at 11-11, and then once more at 13-13. The teams traded leads after that, before UBCO took a 16-15 lead into the technical time-out. A pair of three-point runs for the Huskies put them up 22-18, before a pair of errors by the Heat in the final four points closed the set out, 25-22 for Saskatchewan.
The third set saw the Heat jump out to a 9-5 lead from a 2-2 tie early on. Saskatchewan scored three straight to tie it up at 11-11, then again at 12-12 and again at 15-15. Once again UBCO had the lead at the technical time-out, 16-15. After that the Huskies took control, re-taking the lead they’d last had at 1-0, going up 20-16 thanks to a five-point run. Saskatchewan nearly pushed it to set point, ahead 23-21 before the Heat scored four straight, including a pair of kills, and then a setting error gave UBCO their first set win of the night, 25-23.
The UBC Okanagan Heat (5-13) will play their next games in Edmonton against the University of Alberta Golden Bears (15-3) on Friday, February 10 and Saturday, February 11. The University of Saskatchewan Huskies (9-9) will play next at home against the Calgary Dinos (7-11) on those same days.
~ Grayson Leahy, UBC Okanagan