EDMONTON, A.B. - Matt Aubrey had a season-high 11 kills for the UBCO Heat but the No. 6 ranked Alberta Golden Bears were too much to handle on Friday night as they captured the three set victory at Saville Community Sports Centre.
Their respective records are near opposite ends of the spectrum, and tonight the No. 6 team in the country controlled all three sets (25-15, 25-11, 25-20) to improve their record to 14-5 on the Canada West season.
UBCO has three games remaining in their conference season and is still searching for that first victory (0-19).
"There's no bigger challenge in sport than changing culture in sport. It takes time and there are no short-term fixes here," said head coach Brad Hudson following the loss.
"I don't take the first two sets negatively either. We're not overwhelmed coming in here, but the reality is almost all of our starting team is either in their first and second year and we're trying to grow the program. Our young guys got some really good experience tonight."
Alberta's attack was on fire all night long, as they finished with a season-high .500 hitting percentage and had just four errors in the match.
Max Heppell had seven kills and six digs on the night for the visitors to go along with Aubrey's 11 put-aways.
Senior left-side hitter Alex McMullin led Alberta with 17 kills while recording three aces, third-year outside hitter Taryq Sani chipping in nine kills and a match-high four aces.
Alberta had 13 services aces in the win. Sani led with four, while third-year middle Jacob Deinum and McMullin each had three.
UBCO got off to a good start in the opening set in their first game action in three weeks, but Alberta started to take over later in the opening set the opening set, eventually capturing the first 25-15.
In the second set, the Golden Bears didn't let off the gas pedal. They jumped out to an early 9-1 lead and they were simply no match for UBC Okanagan in the second set as Deinum, Kennedy, and George Hobern all had aces in the set.
In the third set, the road team threw everything they had at Alberta and despite losing the third set, the Heat can take a lot of positives from it.
They battled back and forth and were able to gain multiple leads against the Golden Bears, but once Alberta took a 15-14 lead, the Heat wasn't able to overcome it.
The Golden Bears and UBC Okanagan will play the second game of their weekend series Saturday at approximately 5:30 p.m. PST.
~ Oliver Rizun, Heat Sports Information, with notes from Jason Hills, Golden Bears and Pandas Athletics