KELOWNA, BC - It was a tough night for the Heat men's volleyball team as they fell in straight sets to the No. 3 ranked Mount Royal Cougars on Friday in the UBC Okanagan gym.
The home team would hold advantages in both the first and third sets, but were unable to close the deal in either frame and the Cougars pounced on the opportunity.
Mount Royal improves to 5-2 on their conference season while the Heat fall to 0-7 on their campaign.
Tyler Schmidt continued his sizzling play for Mount Royal as the current conference leader in kills finished with 13 in the three set match on an efficient .345 hitting percentage.
For the Heat it was Brennan Goski who finished with a double-double on the night with 10 kills and 10 digs. Max Heppell and Matthew Aubrey would have seven kills each while Cam Vanderveen made a big impact in the third set coming off the bench with six kills in the final frame.
"Cam did a great job coming in for that third set as we've been trying him at opposite and that's where he was most comfortable and we thought it was a good opportunity" noted Heat head coach Brad Hudson following the match.
The two teams would be even on the stat sheets in most of the key categories but hitting percentage would be the difference as the Cougars hit .198 compared to just .135 for UBCO.
Neither team could gain much separation in the opening set as no team had larger then a three point advantage at any point in the frame. Matthew Aubrey would give the Heat a chance to claim the opening set following a service ace to put the team up 24-23 but Tyler Schmidt quickly countered with a clutch kill. A Brennan Goski put-away gave the Heat a second opportunity to claim the opening set but three straight points from MRU gave them the opening set by a 27-25 scoreline.
It was a fast start for the visitors in the second as they scored the first eight points of the frame to take a commanding lead and the Heat were never able to build much momentum throughout the second. Four straight UBCO points cut the deficit to 23-19 but it was not enough as the 'Cougs took a two set lead.
The third would be a near mirror-image of the opening set, with neither team able to gain much separation in a tightly contest frame. Back-to-back kills from Trent Mounter gave the visitors a 24-22 lead but Brennan Goski saved the first of two match points with a big swing from setter Denham O'Reilly. Just a point later however a costly service error from the Heat would close out the match and a 25-23 third set Cougars win.
The Heat (0-7) and Cougars (5-2) will battle it out on the court tomorrow night in the UBC Okanagan gym with first serve going at 7 p.m. PST.
~ Oliver Rizun, Heat Sports Information