UBC Okanagan is second hottest team with four straight wins going into the December break after outlasting MacEwan in five sets 3-2 (25-19, 25-19, 21-25, 23-25, 15-10) in Kelowna.
Men's Volleyball (Canada West conference play)
|UBC Okanagan (4-12)||25||25||21||23||15||3|
KELOWNA, B.C. – Despite an impressive comeback run by the MacEwan Griffins men’s volleyball team to force five sets and take an early lead on Saturday night, the UBC Okanagan Heat rallied back at home to win the match in five sets 3-2 (25-19, 25-19, 21-25, 23-25, 15-10).
Sophomore outside hitter Lars Bornemann (Victoria, BC) for the third straight match fronted the Heat attack with 18 kills, while fellow outside hitters Alex Swiatlowski (3rd year, Victoria, BC) and Kyle Pankratz (4th year, Surrey, BC) followed with 15 and 12 kills respectively. Libero Jeremy Fostvelt (4th year, Surrey, BC) had 12 digs.
Griffins outside hitter Damon Holmen led his squad with 17 kills. Zach Brown trailed with 13 kills of his own and also led in digs on the night with 17.
The Heat got off to a solid start on Saturday, amassing 29 kills and hitting .387 as a team in the first two sets. The Griffins would not go down easily, however, keeping the score close and forcing the Heat to earn the sets.
MacEwan changed the script in the third set, clawing their way back into the set after an early deficit (5-1) and going on to win the set over UBC Okanagan, 25-21.
In the fourth the Griffins had their strongest set on the night (25-23), tallying 18 kills to the Heat’s 14.
The fifth set even saw MacEwan take an early 4-0 lead over UBC Okanagan, but the Heat took control from then on and rallied back to take the final set (15-10), preventing a MacEwan comeback win.
“We got pretty down on ourselves in the third and fourth sets,” commented Heat setter and player of the game Kristof Schlagintweit (3rd year, Abbotsford, BC), who tallied 45 assists and 11 digs in the win. “Our new slogan, ‘win the next’, we didn’t really take that into play.”
What made the difference for the Heat? “Positive energy,” posited Schlagintweit. “We got negative [before] rather than looking past our last points.”
“We just needed guys to step up,” commented Heat head coach Greg Poitras. “The fifth set had a lot of adversity to deal with at the start. We had to make a couple of plays and try not to get tense, needing to make just one play at a time. We slowly chipped away and momentum fell in our favour.”
With the victory UBC Okanagan head into the holiday break at 4-12, while MacEwan remains winless at 0-14.
“It’s nice going into the break with some confidence,” added Poitras. “We were lacking that with a losing streak that we weren’t too crazy about. We competed in a lot of those games despite losing those matches, so it’s just been a matter of focusing on the process and getting better. The wins were going to come.”
The Heat will take on the University of Calgary Dinos next on January 9th at UBC’s Okanagan campus gymnasium at 8 p.m. PST, while the MacEwan Griffins will host the TRU WolfPack at 2 p.m. MST.
All matches can be watched live at http://www.canadawest.tv.