The No. 3 ranked Calgary Dinos were simply the better team in, quite literally, every aspect of Monday night’s game as they rolled to a strong 3-0 (25-14, 25-15, 25-21) win over the UBC Okanagan Heat in the first round of the Spartans Holiday Classic.
The win puts Calgary in the tournament semifinals where they will play the UBC Thunderbirds Tuesday at 6:00 p.m.
In the opening set, the underdog Heat – who play out of the BCCAA (British Columbia Colleges Athletic Association) and are the No. 2 ranked team in the CCAA (Canadian Colleges Athletic Association) – put up a good fight early on, hanging in with a much more physical team from Calgary, and only trailed 8-7 at the first break.
But then the defending CIS champions took control, going on an explosive 17-7 run and proving why they are amongst the best university teams in Canada. In a sign of things to come, the Dinos hit 43.8 per cent compared to just 4.0 per cent by UBC Okanagan and outblocked the Heat 4.5 to 1.0 en route to the victory.
And the second set was pretty much déjà vu. Like the first frame, UBC Okanagan trailed 8-7 at the first technical timeout and was hanging with Calgary. But then, like round one, Calgary pulled out to a 13-9 advantage, the Heat took an ineffectual timeout and the Dinos raced to a convincing win, this time 25-15.
In the third and final set, UBC Okanagan only trailed 8-7 but, like twice before, eventually succumbed to a more mature Dinos squad as Calgary finished the match in sharp fashion, cleaning up with a 25-21 victory.
Calgary finished with a 45.2 hitting percentage compared to UBC Okanagan’s 11.4 per cent. The Dinos were led offensively by Curtis James, who had 11 kills, and defensively by Blake Giles, who had a game high 10 digs.
The Heat were led by Nate Speijer and Mark Broome who had 11 and 10 kills respectively. Preston Tucker had a team high 25 assists and five digs.
The Heat will play Dalhousie in one of the consolation semifinals Tueday 1:00 p.m.