Kelowna, B.C. – The UBC Okanagan men's volleyball team, for the first time since in five seasons, was one set away from knocking off the No. 5 ranked Trinity Western Spartans in a Canada West conference match after they took sets two and three in Kelowna on Saturday night.
The Spartans rallied however, and overcame the upset minded home team, to win in five sets over the Heat 3-2 (25-15, 19-25, 22-25, 25-15, 15-9).
Inspiring team play in sets two and three for UBCO was buoyed by a variety of attack options that setter Denham O'Reilly was serving up. The transfer setter from Langley mixed in four differnet players: Devon Cote (7 kills), Hunter Scott (6 kills), Brennan Goski (6 kills), Max Heppell (3 kills), and himself (5 kills) in those two sets to stymie the TWU block.
It was a return to the block in sets four and five that allowed Trinity to escape with the win as they finished with 11 blocks to six for the Heat in the match.
The loss for UBCO has dropped their conference record to (0-4) while the Spartans start their season undefeated, and are (2-0) on the young season.
UBC Okanagan will be playing on the road against the Winnipeg Wesmen next weekend (Nov. 2-3), while the Spartans will be on their home court against the Alberta Golden Bears for two matches one Friday and one Saturday.
- Hunter Scott had his best game in a Heat uniform with nine kills out of his total 14 swings tonight, for a .571 hitting percentage.
- Eric Leoppky led the match with 21 kills adding nine digs and six blocks. Jacob Kern would finish the game with 11 kills, seven digs, and five blocks.
- Setter Derek Epp finished the game with 55 assists along with eight digs.
It was a quick start to the match for the visiting Spartans as they would capture eight of the matches first 12 points and would build on this lead going into the media timeout at 16-11. Back-to-back kills from Devon Cote and Max Heppell would cut the deficit to just three but this would be as close as the Heat would get in the opening frame. The Trinity attack would finish with 16 kills in the set on just 28 attacks which equated to an impressive .464 hitting percentage.
The Heat attack would wake up in the second frame as they had nearly twice as many kills as they did in the opening set. This strong attacking would allow them expand on a lead that at one time was just a single point, out to three at the technical timeout. It was a strong finish to the second for the Heat as they scored the final three points including a huge swing by Devon Cote to close out the second in a 25-19 win.
The home team's momentum would continue to start the third, as they scored five straight points just prior to the technical timeout to build a four point lead at 13-9. A Spartans run would trim the lead to just one at 15-14 but three straight Heat points followed to build back their four point advantage.
The Spartans would get off with a hot start with some aggressive runs taking the lead into the timeout up five (16-11). A run by Trinity would push that lead to 22-13 and then the teams traded points to finish up at 25-15. Leoppky with five kills on 10 swings in the frame.
The Heat fell to an (8-4) deficit before falling in the final set 15-9, Jacob Kern did the damage with a perfect 4-4 in attacks and a pair of blocks. Heppell and Scott each notched a pair of kills for UBCO.
~ Oliver Rizun, Heat Sports Information