After falling in straight sets to UBC in Vancouver the Heat look ahead to next weekend’s matchup with the Winnipeg Wesmen.
Men's Volleyball (Canada West conference play)
VANCOUVER, BC– The UBC Okanagan Heat were swept away in straight sets by the streaking UBC Thunderbirds men's volleyball team on Saturday night at War Memorial Gymnasium.
The (25-23, 26-24, 25-20) win was UBC’s fifth in a row and second straight versus UBC Okanagan, whose record drops to 0-8. During their five-game tear, the No. 5 T-Birds have won 15 of the team's past 20 sets and have only lost to MacEwan University so far in conference play.
Jim Bell, still getting his timing down as a leftside, led the team for the sixth time this season in kills with 10, he was tied for the team lead with four blocks as well. Josh Harvey also contributed four blocks while Alex Swiatlowski went for nine kills.
Irvan Brar gave the Heat the fits in the match for the T-Birds, recording 15 kills, which led all players Saturday.
UBC Okanagan lost both sets one and two by just two points and had momentum late in both sets yet were unable to put away the streaking Vancouver team.
Greg Poitras doesn’t have a Madison Bumgarner on his roster to close out sets like the lefty closed out the rest of Major League Baseball to lead the San Frisco Giants to a World Series Championship, and explained that his team needs to keep learning and playing under control to win those winnable sets.
“We haven't been in a lot of sets close like that this year,” explains Poitras, “we just couldn't make the last few plays, and we let the pressure get to us and lost control.”
With the 5-1 Winnipeg Wesmen up next things won’t get easier for the Heat but coach Poitras will have his team ready as they remain positive.
“We will need a good week at practice and take a few more steps forward,” says the coach, now in his tenth season leading the men’s volleyball team at UBC Okanagan. “We still have lots of room for improvement...the guys are up for the challenge.”
The first set Josh Harvey blocked Chris Howe to go up 23-22, UBC Okanagan’s their first lead since 5-4. The late lead didn’t hold as UBC subbed in rookie setter Byron Keturakis and led the service game over the final three points, vaulting the 'Birds to the first-set victory.
The second set saw the Heat take a 12-11 after a Poitras timeout and two huge serves by UBC Okanagan's outside hitter Lars Bornemann, the one-point edge would hold for the next eight points.
The Thunderbirds resiliency prevailed, however, as the T-Birds won the second set by a two-point margin for the second set in a row. The Heat had the home team on the ropes with the majority of the set spent in the lead, but never had more than a two-point edge, as UBC stuck around.
Similar trends continued into the third and final set, as the T-Birds couldn't shake the Heat by a sizeable margin.
Jeremy Fostvelt had a key dig for the Heat a few points later helping the Heat tie the set up at 17-17 but from there on in, the Thunderbirds went on cruise control winning the third set 25-20. UBC Okanagan allowed the ‘Birds to convert 60-percent (14 kills, 20 attacks, just 2 errors) of their attacks in the third, that efficiency was too much for UBC Okanagan to overcome.
Looking ahead for UBC, the Thunderbirds hit the road for a weekend series against the University of Manitoba Bisons in a week's time. The Bisons are nipping at the heels of the Thunderbirds with a 5-3 record and sit four points behind UBC.
UBC Okanagan’s matches in Winnipeg will be at 5:30 p.m. PT on Friday, November 7th and then a matinee at 12:30 p.m. PT on Saturday, November 8th.
~ With notes from Wilson Wong (UBC Sports Information)