Tighter sets in Saturday rematch still ultimately go way of prairie squad in straight sets as Okanagan team continues searching for its elusive first win.
Men's Volleyball (Canada West conference play)
|UBC Okanagan (0-12)||22||19||21||0|
KELOWNA, B.C. – The hometown UBC Okanagan Heat men’s volleyball team did their best to avenge a Friday night defeat at the hands of the visiting Saskatchewan Huskies, but in the end the sled dogs would not drop a set all weekend in a consecutive straight-set result (25-22, 25-19, 25-21).
Paul Thomson came out in force again for Saskatchewan, posting a match-high 20 kills (.424). It was pressure from the service line, however, that kept the Heat off balance the most. The Heat allowed eight service aces and tallied eight service receptions, 16 easy points that could have easily swayed the course of otherwise tight-knit sets in their favour.
“We’ve got to review our defensive system and continue working on our first contact,” was the simple message from Heat coach Greg Poitras following the match, with regard to what the practice sessions this upcoming week will look like. “Our system play was not very good defensively.”
A bright spot on the Heat’s side, third-year outside hitter Alex Swiatlowski rebounded from Friday night to lead the Heat with nine kills (.368) to go with two service aces, three digs and one block assist. Joshua Harvey again had a solid night against the prairie opponent with eight kills (.700), four digs and three block assists in the middle.
The Heat came out swinging in the first set, going toe-to-toe with the Huskies every step of the way. A burst from Saskatchewan in the latter stages of the set separated the two 22-18, a cushion that would keep the home team at bay in a 25-22 decision for the visitors.
Hoping to redeem himself from Friday night, third-year Heat outside Alex Swiatlowski came in with a deft serving touch early in the second set, serving up four straight points that included two service aces. Another neck-and-neck race would play out the rest of the way until, once again, the Huskies capitalized on a late run to distance themselves in an eventual 25-19 result.
The same script played out familiarly in the third, as ultimately Saskatchewan walked away with a 3-0 match and weekend sweep in a 25-21 ouster of Okanagan.
H Poitras opted to run backup setter Nick Schmidt for the bulk of the night as the latter accumulated a team-high 18 assists with three digs.
Jordan Nowakowski trailed Thomson with 12 kills for the Huskies and tallied three of his team’s eight service aces. Zak Rempel had a match-high nine digs and 29 assists as the team’s starting setter.
The loss drops UBC Okanagan to 0-12 for the season, while Saskatchewan moves up to 5-5.
Both the Heat and Huskies hit the road next weekend for back-to-backs with Regina and MacEwan, respectively. Match starts are 4 p.m. PST and 6 p.m. PST respectively on Friday and Saturday.
Watch the action online and view live stats at canadawest.tv.
Heat notes…With the men’s basketball team winning their first game of the year at Mount Royal, the men’s volleyball team is now the last varsity team at the school without a win yet for 2014-15.