A winless drought is ended as the UBC Okanagan men's volleyball team gut out a five set win over MacEwan University in Edmonton on Saturday night (22-25, 25-21, 25-17, 24-26, 16-14).
Men's Volleyball (Canada West conference match)
Saturday, February 13th, 2016
University City Centre Campus Gymnasium, Edmonton, AB
SET SCORES 1 2 3 4 5 TEAM RECORDS UBC Okanagan........ (3) 22 25 25 24 16 4-18 MacEwan............. (2) 25 21 17 26 14 3-19
EDMONTON, AB - The UBC Okanagan Heat defeated the MacEwan Griffins in five sets (22-25, 25-21, 25-17, 24-26, 16-14) to earn a split of the weekend matchup in the MacEwan University gymnasium. As a result, the Heat now hold a record of 4-18, and the Griffins’ record is now 3-19.
The match was hard fought by both teams, with both the fourth and fifth sets going into extra points.
Only the fifth set saw one of the teams finish with less than ten kills. The Heat were statistically better on the attack in every set, outscoring the Griffins in kills 17-11 in the first set, 16-11 in the second, 15-10 in the third, 16-12 in the fourth, and 11-9 in the fifth.
That difference in attack was the difference in the match, as UBC Okanagan earned the win by out-hitting MacEwan, with the closest sets being the two in which the Heat had the smallest attacking advantage.
The Heat finished with 75 kills and an attack percentage of .372, while the Griffins finished with 53 kills and an attack percentage of .220.
The fifth and final set was the most closely contested, and the tie-breaking frame ran into extra points before the Heat took it 16-14 to win the match.At no point in the final set did either team gain a lead of more than two points. Both teams also had their best attacking percentages of the night in the fifth set, with the Heat hitting .529 on 11 kills, and the Griffins hitting .471 on nine kills. The match was ultimately decided by inconsistency; the final two points came from back-to-back errors by MacEwan, with a service error and an illegal set being UBC Okanagan’s 15th and 16th points in the deciding set.
Scoring leaders on the night were Shane Kerrison for the Griffins, with 23 kills (.327), and for the Heat it was Kyle Pankratz with 21 kills (.289) and Lars Bornemann with 19 kills (.325).
Eli Risso of the Heat led the match in digs, with 18, his teammate Ethan Freund led the match in assists, with a career high 58, and Adam Kern, also of the Heat, led the match in total blocks, with five.
The coach for the UBC Okanagan men's volleyball team, Greg Poitras, explained that his team found some extra scoring from outside hitter Kyle Pankratz, who will be playing in his final matches this upcoming weekend as he finishes up his university volleyball career. "Pankratz had good match ups at the net and got the job done," explained Poitras. "Jim [Bell] makes a big difference with his presence in middle, and the setter [Ethan Freund] was more tactical tonight."
The first set was one of the strongest on the night for MacEwan, as they took the lead at 2-1 and never gave it back. There were ties later in the set, at 15-15 and 21-21, but the Griffins were able to capitalize on Heat errors, and put the set away on a kill from Ryan McDonald.
The Heat took over in the second set, jumping out to a six point lead at 15-9. Neither team was able to put together a run of more than three points in the set until the Heat scored four straight kills to go up 24-19. The Griffins responded with back-to-back kills of their own, but UBC Okanagan put the set away, 25-21, on a kill from Devon Cote, his fourth of the set.
The third set saw the largest margin of victory in the match, with the Heat taking it by eight points, 25-17. UBC Okanagan earned an attack percentage of .394 in the set, while holding MacEwan to their worst percentage of the night, .056.
The fourth set showed MacEwan’s resilience, as they came back from being down 23-19 to take the set 26-24. Again, power was the difference, as the Griffins scored five of their last six points on three kills and two service aces, and outscored the Heat in terms of attacking percentage for the only time in the match. The teams were far more evenly matched on the attack in the fourth set than they had been in the third, with the Griffins hitting .308 on 12 kills and four errors, to the Heat’s .250 on 16 kills and eight errors.
Both teams will finish off their seasons next weekend, as UBC Okanagan will host Mount Royal for their final two matches, and MacEwan will travel to play Brandon, in Manitoba.
On the final home game for the Heat this Saturday the UBC athletics department at the Okanagan campus will honour three players graduating the program. Jeremy Fostvelt (Surrey, BC) and Kyle Pankratz (Surrey, BC) will have both finished their five years of eligibility and Leo Schober (Kelowna, BC) will graduate from UBC this spring.
~ Grayson Leahy, Heat communications