McFarland leads Heat men to first season victory

okanagan heat

January 13, 2013, REGINA, SK (ISN) – Outside hitter Riley McFarland (5th year, Surrey, BC) powered the UBC Okanagan Heat to a four-set win, their first in conference play this season, over the Regina Cougars on Saturday afternoon in Canada West men’s volleyball action at the Centre for Kinesiology, Health & Sport.

“Riley either tied or broke his single game kill total,” commented Heat head coach Greg Poitras. “Leo (Schober) and Brett (Uniat) helped our offense immensely. Riley adjusted his block as their hitters we chipping away at us off the block. We did not compete in the 4th and had to make some changes, but the guys ground out an epic comeback to avoid a 5th set in the Cougars gym.”

McFarland ended up with 26 kills, seven blocks, and five digs on the afternoon where he almost singlehandedly gave the Heat their first win of the 2012-13 season. The 26 kills is a CIS career high for the outside hitter from White Rock, he put down 25 last November in a Heat win over the Thunderbirds. The seven blocks also represent a career high equalled only one other time for McFarland, last February versus Thompson Rivers.

“The net must have been low,” joked McFarland when asked what spurred on the incredible 26 kills. “I got good passes with some good isolations outside.”

Second year UofR outside hitter Matthew Lueck (2nd year, Regina, SK) had eight kills on eight attacks in the first set to help give the Cougars a 25-23 win and an early lead in the match. Though the Cougars ended up winning the first set, the Heat almost completely erased a late seven-point deficit with six consecutive points and carried that momentum into the second set. The Heat dominated from start to finish in the second, winning 25-10 to square the match at a set apiece.

UBC Okanagan outlasted the Cougars for a 28-26 win in a third set that featured 17 tie scores and five lead changes, and trailed by as many as eight points in the fourth before roaring back to clinch the match with a 25-23 win.

Freshman Kristof Schlagintweit (Setter, Abbotsford, BC) had 36 assists and seven digs for the Heat, while fifth year middle Brett Uniat (Cochrane, AB) had six kills and tied for the match lead with eight blocks. Setter Jon Russo (2nd year, Lake Country, BC) collected 10 digs for UBC Okanagan. The 26 kills by McFarland are the most given up to a single player in one match by the Cougars since Calgary’s Omar Langford had 27 against the U of R in back-to-back games during the 2008-09 season.

Second year right side Andrew Nelson (Regina, SK) led the Cougars with 15 kills, while Lueck ended up with 11. Outside hitter Rhodri Simmonds (Perth, Australia) ended up with a team-leading eight blocks. Setter Caleb Eschbach (4th year, Dryden, ON) had 39 assists and added nine digs to fall just short of a double-double, while outside hitter Andre Borgeaud (2nd year, Brisbane, Australia) led all players with 11 digs.

Both two teams will meet again on Sunday afternoon. First serve is scheduled for 11 a.m. Pacific time.

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