Men’s Volleyball (Canada West conference play)
UBC Okanagan Gymnasium, Kelowna, BC
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Kelowna, BC – In a match described as nothing short of a “rollercoaster” by Nate Speijer (5th year, Penticton, BC), the Heat and Wesmen once again needed five sets to determine a winner, with Winnipeg emerging victorious this time to earn the weekend split 3-2 (25-18, 14-25, 25-15, 15-25, 15-6).
After a convincing fourth-set victory 25-15, the Heat looked poised to continuing their strong play into the fifth. However, the veteran Wesmen quickly jumped out to an early 4-1 lead over the Heat, forcing Heat head coach Greg Poitras to take a timeout. The timeout allowed the Heat to win the next point, but a service error by Kristof Schlagintweit (2nd year, Abbottsford, BC) followed by a blocking error by Joshua Harvey (2nd year, Cochrane, AB) allowed the Wesmen to gain a 7-2 advantage. The tentative Heat were unable to mount a come-back from then on out, and Winnipeg would escape with the deciding set.
“[Winnipeg] was just more gritty and more disciplined than we were when the game was on the line,” said Speijer post-game. “And that comes down to experience for the most part. At times we were playing not to lose, rather than to win. We need to start going for the knockout punch.”
Speijer once again would lead the Heat in kills with 20, to put his weekend total at 51. Player of the Game Kyle Pankratz (3rd year, Surrey, BC) added 13 kills of his own, but behind Pankratz and Speijer, the Heat were relatively non-existent on offense. Oddly enough, the Heat committed seven less errors than the Wesmen (58-51), but were both out-blocked (10-7) and out-dug (59-45) in the contest. The Heat also struggled from the service line, committing 14 service errors.
For the Wesmen, Casey Schouten and Tom Douglas-Powell provided the offensive fuel for Winnipeg, combining for 35 kills. Josh McKay and Riley Delevau anchored the defense with a combined 25 digs.
The loss now puts the Heat at 2-8 on the season, while Winnipeg moves to 5-5.
The Heat will make their way to Calgary, AB next weekend for the final series of 2013, facing the Dinos at Jack Simpson Gymnasium for a two-game affair this Sat and Sun (Nov 30 – Dec 1).
When asked what his team needs to improve on for their series versus Calgary, Speijer was quick to comment: “First contact. We just need to come back into practice this week, refocus, and make a better effort on first touch. We’ll be ready for Calgary.”
Heat Notes: Nate Speijer had 115 total kill attempts over the course of the two games versus Winnipeg, converting on 51 of them for a kill percentage of 0.443.