Men’s Volleyball (Canada West conference play)
UBC’s Okanagan campus gymnasium, Kelowna, BC
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KELOWNA, BC – Up two sets to none, the UBC Okanagan Heat men’s volleyball team were unable to successfully fend off the Cougars in the remaining three sets, as Regina came all the way back to win 3-2 (16-25, 27-29, 25-21, 25-15, 15-10) Friday night.
The Heat would be without starting setter Kristof Schlagintweit (2nd year, Abbotsford, BC) for their match versus Regina, as Kristof was forced to undergo an emergency appendectomy just hours prior to game-time. Complaining of abdominal discomfort, Kristof was admitted to Kelowna General Hospital to undergo the surgery.
Faced without their starting setter, Davis Proch (5th year, Kelowna, BC) would step into the starting role and the Heat offense looked sharp in their first two sets versus Regina, as UBC Okanagan would hit .300 and .244 in the first two sets.
“I thought I played well,” said Proch post-game when asked about his thoughts on his performance. “There were a few key times when I probably could have changed my set selection, but overall I was pretty happy. It was obviously unfortunate with what happened to Kristof, though.”
The game seemed to be all but decided heading into the third set, but Regina would come alive and win 25-20. With momentum fully on their side, the Cougars would continue their strong play into the fourth and fifth set, hitting .375 and .231 in the final two frames.
Three Heat players would finish with over 10 kills each, with Alex Swiatlowski (2nd year, Victoria, BC) leading the way with 16 kills. Lars Bornemann (1st year, Victoria, BC) would add 14 kills, and Nate Speijer (5th year, Penticton, BC) would round out the attack with 12 kills. Defensively, Heat Player of the Game Joshua Harvey (2nd year, Cochrane, AB) would finish with 5 total blocks – one of which came at 28-27 in the second set to win it for the Heat 29-27. As for Proch, he would finish the game with 42 assists.
Speijer’s 12 kills put him just three behind Brad Gunter of TRU for the most kills this season in Canada West (353-356). Gunter did not play in Thompson Rivers’ Friday night game versus Manitoba, and with TRU unable to move up or down in the standings, Gunter will likely sit Saturday’s game as well, leaving the door open for Speijer to finish the season as Canada West’s kill leader. Speijer’s 353 kills places him tied for eighth in conference history with Denis Zhukov (Calgary 2001-02).
The Cougars would counter with 18 kills from Andrew Nelson, who became Regina’s all-time single season kill leader with 275 kills this season. Joel Legasse and Matthew Lueck would add 12 kills and 11 kills respectively in support of Nelson, and as a team, Regina hit .283 in the final three sets to edge the Heat.
The win sees Regina improve to 3-18, while the Heat will drop to 4-17.
Saturday will mark the both the final game of the regular season, and the final games in the Heat careers of Nate Speijer and Davis Proch. Both Okanagan natives, Speijer and Davis will be honoured in a ceremony prior to the game.
When asked about how he will approach the final game of his career, Proch stated: “I think I’ll just prepare for it like any other match. I’m sure I’ll play a lot looser given it’s my last match and there’s nothing to lose. I’m definitely excited to get out there tomorrow.”
The first serve is scheduled for 7 p.m.