Men’s Volleyball (Canada West conference play)
UBC Okanagan Gymnasium, Kelowna, BC
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Kelowna, BC - It may have taken five, but the Heat showed a lot of character Friday evening in their narrow victory over the Wesmen 3-2 (25-23, 22-25, 25-20, 23-25, 15-9) from UBC's Okanagan campus gymnasium.
Nate Speijer (5th year, Penticton, BC) and Jim Bell (2nd year, Surrey, BC) would combine for 46 kills on the evening to lead the Heat to victory, with Speijer leading the charge with 31 kills. As a team, the Heat were very fluid on offense for the majority of the match, resulting in a team hitting percentage of .284.
"A total team win tonight, and a gritty win for sure," commented Heat head coach Greg Poitras after the game. "We had to make some clutch plays to get this one."
Clutch plays came throughout the entire match for the Heat, especially in the fifth set. After allowing Winnipeg to gain the early advantage in the fifth set 7-5, Kyle Pankratz (3rd year, Surrey, BC) would bail the Heat out with a huge block on Matthew Dueck (4th year, Oakbank, MB), and Nate Speijer would tie the game on the following point with a huge kill from the back-row. Joshua Harvey (2nd year, Cochrane, AB) would complete the three-point swing with a solo block on Dueck to put the Heat ahead 8-7.
These three points were arguably the most important in the match for the Heat, as it swung momentum back in their favour at the most crucial juncture of the set. This momentum swing put the pressure back on the Wesmen, and Winnipeg could only muster an additional two points the rest of the way in the fifth set Heat win.
Poitras was also quick to attribute the win to the lack of errors committed by the Heat. As a team, the Heat averaged 4.4 errors per set over the course of the match, while their counter-parts did not fare so well at 6.8 errors per set.
"Our errors were lower than they have been in the past," added Poitras. "We did commit some key errors at times, but credit Winnipeg. They are a very good volleyball team."
Another key statistic won by the Heat was on defense, as UBC Okanagan combined to out-block Winnipeg 13-11. Not only that, the block was very effective in slowing down the offensive production of Casey Schouten (2nd year, East Paul, MB) and Tom Douglas-Powell (4th year, Brisbane, Australia ), who combined for only 35 kills on a whopping 99 attempts.
With the home court win, the Heat move to 2-7 for the year, winning two straight at home. On November 3 UBC Okanagan took out Mount Royal 3-0. The Wesmen fall to 4-5 on the season, still winless outside of Manitoba.
Both teams will resume play tomorrow evening at UBC's Okanagan campus gymnasium, with service set for 7 p.m.