Heat unable to close out No. 7 Saskatchewan

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November 17, 2013, SASKATOON, SK (ISN) – A 28-26 first set win put momentum fully in favour of the Heat Saturday evening versus the hometown Huskies, but it quickly swung out of their favour in the following three sets as the Heat fell to Saskatchewan 3-1 (26-28, 25-13, 25-18, 28-26).

“I have nothing but positive thoughts about the game,” said Heat setter Kristof Schlagintweit post-game. “We played a great game and they just happened to rise above the level we were playing at.”

With the loss, the Heat fall to 1-7, while the win puts Saskatchewan at 3-5.

The Heat will return to UBC’s Okanagan campus gymnasium for next weekend’s series, as they play host to the visiting Winnipeg Wesmen for two games on Friday and Saturday evening.

When asked about his feelings about returning home after two weekends on the road, Kristoff said he and his team are “very, very excited” to return home.

First serve this Friday, Nov 22 is at 8 p.m. Saturday starts an hour earlier at 7 p.m.

A tightly contested first set was one due in part to a stroke of luck for the Heat, as the Huskies committed two attack errors in the two points following a tied set score of 26-26 to push the set in favour of the Heat 28-26.

Leading the Heat was Nate Speijer, who tallied 17 kills on 46 attempts. Kyle Pankratz and Joshua Harvey both added eight kills of their own, while Jim Bell (2nd year, Surrey, BC) had seven kills and five block assists on the evening. As a team, the Heat were able to out-block the Huskies 9.5 to 6.

The second set got away from the Heat early, as they quickly fell behind 16-9. Both teams would exchange points en route to a Husky set victory 25-13.

Despite the second set result the Heat refused to back down in the third. Efforts by Joshua Harvey (2nd year, Cochrane, AB), Nate Speijer (5th year, Penticton, BC), and Kyle Pankratz (3rd year, Surrey, BC) would boost the Heat to an early 9-6 lead. Three errors in the following five points from the Heat would allow the Huskies to tie the set up at 10-10, and they would hold the Heat at bay to win the third set 25-18.

The Huskies would continue to roll in the fourth set, jumping out to a 12-9 lead early.

However, two kills by Speijer coupled with errors by the Huskies, would knot the game up at 13-13. Both teams would once again exchange errors and kills to remain tied at 23-23.

Paul Thomson (4th year, Assiniboia, SK) would put the Huskies ahead 24-23 with the following kill, but Lars Bornemann (1st year, Victoria, BC) would answer with a kill of his to re-tie the game up 24-24.

Tyler Epp (3rd year, Saskatoon, SK) would put the Huskies ahead with a kill of his own, but the Huskies would surrender the next point on a service error to once again tie the game, this time at 25-25. Robert Graham (5th year, Saskatoon, SK) and Kyle Pankratz would exchange kills in the following two points, and a service error by Bornemann and a block by the Huskies on Pankratz would conclude the set 28-26 in favour of the Huskies.

On the Saskatchewan side, the Huskies were led by the duo of Paul Thomson and Bryan Fraser, who both connected on 14 kills over the course of the four set match. Thomson would add 11 digs as well, ousting Fraser by just one, who had 10 digs on the evening in defensive support for the Huskies.

The Huskies hit a combined .293, while the Heat were only able to hit .210.