September 22, 2013, Kelowna, BC (ISN) – It took some time to shake the rust off, but all things considered, the Heat men looked impressive at home in their first pre-season action of the 2013-2014 season.
A fourth-set stretching into the thirties seemed like it would never end, but kills by Ryan Sclater and Blake Scheerhoorn would put the finishing touches on the Heat comeback, and Trinity Western would earn the victory 3-1 (25-22,25-10, 14-25, 32-30) at UBC’s Okanagan campus on Saturday night.
The game served as an ample opportunity for Heat head coach Greg Poitras to play around with multiple lineups, which is important, considering how many new faces the Heat have welcomed for this season.
“With such a young team, this is our first real six-on-six action,” said Poitras following the game. “We have been working mainly on skills in camp. Now we’ll start to ramp it up.”
As usual, Nate Speijer (5th year, Penticton, BC) was the top kill man on the night for the Heat, making a triumphant return to UBC Okanagan Gymnasium to the tune of 18 kills. Joshua Harvey (1st year, Cochrane, AB) added 7 kills on 13 attempts, along with six blocks for a very solid stat line on the evening. Heat rookies Kris McCrea (Port Moody, BC) and Chris Wilson (Surrey, BC) would add 3 and 2 kills respectively in the first Canada West action of their careers.
Besides the strong play from Heat players young and old, the most encouraging sign from the home team was their ability to battle and their refusal to break under the Spartan pressure.
The first set was tight as both teams jabbed at one another trying to get a feel to the pace of the match, with the visiting Spartans prevailing 25-22. The rustiness showed with each team committing numerous service errors (UBCO 10, TWU 4).
The Spartans looked like they were going to finish the Kelowna squad off early, rolling to a 25-10 second set victory. The tide changed quickly as UBC Okanagan picked up their intensity and led the third set 16-6, before earning the set win 25-14.
The fourth and final set was very much a back and forth affair, as evidenced by the 32-30 score. The Spartans were looking to put their hosts to bed and the Heat were refusing to lie down, causing both teams to play a spirited final set with the Heat never able to finish their Langley foe.
Coach Poitras was very Zen about the way the match turned out and stated simply that “It was just too bad we couldn’t get a couple more points in the fourth set.”
The Heat will resume exhibition play Thursday, September 26th, traveling to Kamloops, BC to kick off their “Northern BC Tour” versus the WolfPack. The tour has the Heat and WolfPack playing against other in feature games through the interior of BC.
Thursday the 26th they are in Kamloops, Friday the 27th in Prince George and will finish on Saturday the 27th in Quesnel.
The Heat will start their Canada west league action versus the same WolfPack with a home-and-away series. Friday Oct 25th at 7 p.m. will be the home opener for the Heat and on Saturday the two teams will once again clash in Kamloops at the Tournament Capital Centre. First serve in Kamloops is 6 p.m.
Canada West conference play will once again be broadcast on canadawest.tv.