After taking the first two sets the Heat were unable to hold off the No. 6 Thunderbirds, who swept through Kelowna.
Men’s Volleyball (Canada West conference match)
Friday, January 29th, 2016
UBC Okanagan gymnasium, Kelowna, BC
FINAL 1 2 3 4 5 SCORE UBC (12-6) 20 18 25 25 15 3 UBC Okanagan (3-15) 25 25 16 12 13 2
KELOWNA, BC – The Heat men’s volleyball team won the first two sets against UBC on Saturday night, however, they were unable to sustain the level of play needed to best a top ten team. Ranked sixth in Canada, the visiting Thunderbirds took sets three and four, and then succeeded in reaching match-point first in the deciding set at UBC Okanagan.
Thunderbirds won in five sets: (20-25, 18-25, 25-16, 25-12, 15-13).
The fifth set started off with exciting rallies leading the Heat and Thunderbirds to battle point for point up to a score of (3-3), until the Thunderbirds took the lead by two points (3-5). The Heat consequently turned up the temperature, with Alex Swiatlowski delivering a kill to bring the score (6-5).
Neck to neck again, the game went back to a tight yet neutral score (6-6) – with men flying to hit the floor from both teams; demonstrating complete bodily sacrifice for their respective schools.
The Thunderbirds took another two-point lead (7-9), prompting the Heat to call a timeout. The Heat capitalized on this with a return point bringing the game to (8-9), with Jim Bell flying near his bench to make a save.
Thunderbirds Alex Russell made an unreturnable kill increasing the Thunderbird’s lead (10-8). UBC ahead by one point (11-10) called a timeout, and the two teams continued to rally back and forth, with the Thunderbirds Joel Regehr and Mat Guidi stepping up to make two lethal match kills – ending the game (15-13).
This loss for the Heat drops their record to (3-15) and bumps the ‘Birds record to (12-6).
Alex Swiatlowski lead the Heat, following up yesterday’s career high of 23 kills, with 16 (.250) and 10 digs, giving him a double double. Lars Bornemann also contributed with 12 kills (.154) and rookie El Risso chipped in with 15 digs.
Moving forward to next week’s series, UBC Okanagan’s Alex Swaitlowski mentioned, “This week in practice especially, our team really pushed each other to improve. We’ve really picked up our game and this is starting to transfer into our play. In facing adversity we do not accept where we are in the standings and we are continuously and relentlessly working on improving.”
The Heat will be continuing their season on the road as they head to Langley to play Trinity Western (Feb. 5). Game time is at 8 p.m.
The ThunderBirds were led by Irvan Brar with 18 kills on 37 swings (.237) and 15 digs, giving him a double double. Mat Guidi had ten kills and nine digs and Byron Keturakis offered seven kills and 14 digs.
UBC will return home to face another BC rival, the Thompson Rivers WolfPack, this Friday and Saturday at War Memorial Gymnasium. The Blue and Gold will hit the historic court Friday night (Feb. 5) at 6 p.m.
The first set started off highly contested as both teams went point for point until a kill by Kristof Schlagintweit pushed the Heat into a (10-5) run to increase the lead (19-12). This momentum kept the Heat ahead and an error by the T-Birds resulted in a (25-20) win.
The second set started off slow, however, the Heat established a significant lead (12-18) prompting UBC to take a timeout. The Thunderbirds gained no momentum from this, and the Heat successfully finished the set (18-25).
UBC turned the match around, and established a strong lead which resulted in a (25-16) win.
The Thunderbirds then carried this momentum into the fourth set, winning 21 of the first 31 points (21-10), before a kill by Milan Nikic secured a (25-12) finish over the Heat.
The Heat and Thunderbirds were evenly matched in tonight’s game for kills with the Heat making 56 to the T-Birds’ 59.
~ Emiko Ohama // Heat communications