Heat unable to tame No. 3 Golden Bears

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by Cary Mellon

January 25, 2014, KELOWNA, BC (ISN) – The visiting Golden Bears men’s volleyball team capitalized on early opportunities over the UBC Okanagan Heat Friday night in Kelowna, hitting a combined .325 on their way to the straight set victory 3-0 (25-20, 25-14, 25-17).

“I just think we had an off night,” remarked Nate Speijer post-game. “Alberta came in playing great volleyball, and we just had a hard time matching it.”

Speijer did all he could for the Heat, hitting .304 behind 12 kills on 23 attempts. Two Victoria, BC natives, Alex Swiatlowski (2nd year) and Lars Bornemann (1st year), would add 10 kills in support of Speijer’s efforts, but Canada West’s third-best defense by opponents hitting percentage would hold the Heat to a hitting percentage of just .064.

“They served us tough and it stopped us from getting a good first touch on the ball,” added Speijer. “It hurt our offense.”

Despite the result, the Heat continue to show signs of improvement in 2014, and they continued to show a lot of potential in this game. There were numerous stretches where the Heat played solid all-around volleyball, but whenever it seemed like UBC Okanagan was onto a major breakthrough, a tough break was right on the horizon.

“I don’t think the score reflected what was happening on the court tonight,” finished Nate. “Instead of the ball being six inches in, it was six inches out. That’s just the way it went for us tonight – we couldn’t catch a break.”

A concerted team effort on behalf of Alberta saw five Golden Bears notch four or more kills in the game, with John Goranson leading the way at 10 kills. Ryley Barnes, Kevin Proudfoot, and Jay Olmstead would add nine, eight, and seven kills respectively, while Matt McCreary would round out the bunch with four kills on five attempts.

Defensively, both teams were on par, matching each other with seven total blocks apiece.

The win sees Alberta improve to 12-5, while the Heat retreat to 4-13.

The Heat will get their chance at a series split tomorrow evening, hosting Alberta for the second game of the series at 7 p.m. PST.