Men's Volleyball (Canada West conference play)
UBC's Okanagan campus gymnasium, Kelowna, BC
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Kelowna, BC - After losing the second set to UBC Okanagan 27-25, the third-ranked Golden Bears team would regroup and hold off a late Heat charge in the fourth set to escape with the victory 3-1 (25-17, 25-27, 25-13, 25-22) in men’s volleyball action Saturday night from Kelowna.
"We had better execution tonight," said Heat head coach Greg Poitras following the game. "The basic things that we needed to do last night, we did better tonight. It's just unfortunate we weren't able to get a win."
Alberta, for the second straight night, hit over .300 combined as a team, with Jay Olmstead leading the way with 18 kills. Right behind Olmstead were Kevin Proudfoot, John Goranson and Ryley Barnes, who each had 14, 12 and 12 kills respectfully.
For the Heat, Nate Speijer had 18 kills to push his weekend kill total to 30. This is the eight time this season that Speijer has reached the +30 kill total. Last weekend versus Trinity Western was the only series in which Mr. Consistency was unable to tally over 30 kills; he would tally 29 against the Spartans.
In support of Speijer were Lars Bornemann (1st year, Victoria, BC), who had 10 kills and three digs, and Alex Swiatlowski (2nd year, Victoria, BC), who had six kills and five digs.
With the win, the Golden Bears improve to 13-5 and have clinched a playoff berth in Canada West. Meanwhile, the Heat drop to 4-14.
Despite the loss, the Heat showed marked improvement in their second game versus Alberta, just like they have shown marked improvement in the second semester versus the first.
"We're definitely starting to get there," explained Poitras. "We're starting to make better habits. Even though we are still showing signs of being a young team, we're also showing signs of being a great team."
With only four games remaining in their season and a playoff spot unlikely but not mathematically impossible, Poitras remains headstrong in the expectations for his club. "Our goal is to still improve and be the best volleyball team we can by the end of the season."
Both teams will be on the road next weekend, January 31 and February 1, with Alberta travelling to Mount Royal to face the Cougars and the Heat travelling to face the Bisons in Manitoba.