Kelowna, BC - The Heat men's volleyball team would open up their conference home slate with a four set loss to the No. 5 ranked Trinity Western Spartans on Friday night.
The new-look team would capture the third set 25-20 to force the defending Canada West Champions to a fourth set but they were unable to continue their momentum, falling 25-14.
With the win, Trinity Western captures their first Canada West win of the season (1-0) after having a bye last weekend, while the Heat fall to 0-3 early in the new campaign.
Max Heppell would be the offensive force on the night for the Heat, racking up 15 kills for the home team. Spartans outside hitter Eric Loeppky had 13 kills to lead the way for the visitors along with three service aces.
The two teams will be back on the court tomorrow night in the UBC Okanagan Gymnasium with first serve set for 7 p.m. PT.
It was a highly entertaining first set in the Furnace as the two teams would go on runs of their own in the opening frame. The Heat would score five out of six points following the technical timeout to build a 19-17 lead, and would have three separate opportunities at set point with the score 24-21. Trinity would close the set like conference champions do, scoring the final five points of the opening set including two straight service aces from Jacob Kern to close the set.
The visiting Spartans would get off to a hot start in the second frame, scoring six of the first seven points of the set to build an early lead. While the home team cut the deficit down to six at 16-10, they were unable to mount the comeback against the No. 5 ranked team in the U SPORTS Rankings. The Trinity Western attack was nearly unstoppable in the set, racking up 18 kills on just 27 total attacks.
It would be the Heat's best set of the night in the third, limiting the Spartans to a match-low .143 hitting percentage on just seven kills. The Heat would trail early on until five points out of six game them the lead just prior to the technical timeout. Trinity Western would cut the lead to just one at 20-19, but the Heat closed the door by scoring five of the next six points.
After the Heat scored the opening two points of the fourth, it would go south from there as the defending conference champions found their rhythm offensively and would build a 16-9 media timeout lead. It would be smooth sailing in the final frame for the visitors as they closed out the fourth by a 25-14 scoreline.
Inside the numbers:
- The Spartans would finish with more total kills (50-43), service aces (8-2), digs (22-20) and total blocks (14-5).
- Hitting percentage would be one of the key deciders of the match, with Trinity Western holding a decisive edge (.409 - .212)
- Rookie Noah Campbell would get the start for UBCO and finish with nine kills in the match which is his new career-high.
- Australian Matthew Aubrey would finish with eight put-aways in the contest along with two blocks.
- Both Jacob Kern and Jackson Howe would finish with 11 kills apiece on the night, with Howe also picking up seven digs in the match.
- Setter Derek Epp would finish with 43 assists along with seven digs, three blocks and three kills to his name.
~ Oliver Rizun, Heat Sports Information