Led by Kevin Tillie’s 12 kills and four aces the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack opened day two of the Spartan Holiday Classic with a 3-1 win over the UBC Okanagan Heat in the tournament’s lone consolation semi-final match of the day.
Attacking efficiency proved to be the difference in the match as the WolfPack finished the match at 20 percent hitting, while the Heat finished at 4.2 percent. Both teams were strong from the end line with TRU having 10 aces, while UBCO had nine aces. The WolfPack had the edge at the net with 10 team blocks to the Heat’s seven blocks.
In addition to Tillie the WolfPack had strong play from Casey Knight, with eight kills, five digs and four blocks and Alex Davis with five kills, three aces and five blocks.
The Heat were led by Nate Speijer with 12 kills, two aces and six digs and Mark Broome with eight kills, five aces and five digs.
Led by Tillie’s near perfect five kills on six attempts and three aces, TRU took the opening set 25-16 to take the early 1-0 lead. TRU had led 8-4 and 16-11 at the two technical timeouts. The Heat’s top player in the first set was Speijer with three kills. UBCO finished the set hitting negative 4.8 percent, while Thompson Rivers finished at 26.3 percent.
At the start of the second set it looked like TRU was going to jump out to a two set lead as they led 8-5 and had just scored four straight points as the teams headed into the first break. But out of the break the Heat found their game and led by Broome’s five kills and four service aces UBCO took a 16-14 lead before running through the remainder of the set for a 25-19 win to even the match at 1-1. The WolfPack’s offence fell off as they hit for 10 percent in the second set, while the Heat improved to 11.8 percent.
Thompson Rivers regained control in the third set. The WolfPack jumped out to 8-3 and 16-10 leads and looked to be cruising to the two sets to one lead. Then with the score 19-13 for the WolfPack the Heat were able to take six of the next eight points to cut the TRU lead to two points, 21-19. But then a Tillie service ace and an attack error by the Heat gave the WolfPack a four point margine, 23-19, as they took the third set 25-21. Tillie added four more kills and an ace to his total to lead TRU. The WolfPack hit for 19.2 percent, while the Heat hit at 5.3 percent.
The fourth set was tight early with UBC Okanagan holding a one point, 8-7, lead at the first break. The Heat maintained the lead to 10-9. Then the WolfPack took over. TRU took seven of the next ten points to lead 16-13 at the second break. The Heat got to within two points, 18-16, after an ace by Speijer, but it was as close as they would get in the set. TRU would close the set with an seven to three run to take the fourth set 25-19 and the match 3-1. Three service aces and a team hitting percentage of 25 percent were the difference for TRU. The Heat’s attack continued to fall off as they finished the set at zero percent.
UBCO will play Dalhousie on Wednesday.