by Cary Mellon
February 2, 2014, WINNIPEG, MB (ISN) – If not for a service ace that rolled just over the top of the net to win the third set for Manitoba, the Heat men’s volleyball team just might have been on their way to a victory Saturday night, but the Bisons would win the set 26-24 and the following set as well to win 3-1 (25-13, 23-25, 26-24, 25-19).
Despite being without the services of Nate Speijer (5th year, Penticton, BC), who continues to rehab a sore shoulder, the youthful Heat still battled and showed promising flashes of dominant play over their four set match with Manitoba. Jim Bell’s (2nd year, Surrey, BC) impressive play over the past few weeks continued in this match, as Bell had a great game for the Heat with 11 kills on 17 attempts for .529 kill percentage.
“Jim attacked well tonight for us,” said Heat head coach Greg Poitras post-game. “He also served well for us this weekend, which was encouraging.”
Alex Swiatlowski (2nd year, Victoria, BC) and Lars Bornemann (1st year, Victoria, BC) both proved capable of bearing the brunt of the offensive load, combining for 64 attempts that netted the Heat 19 kills – an important consideration for the Heat as they move forward.
It was the second glimpse in as many nights into what the Heat will be like in the post-Speijer era, as his time as a member of the Heat is quickly drawing to an unfortunate close, and although a small sample size, the youthful Heat squad showed a lot of encouraging signs even though they were unable to earn a victory.
“I looked forward to seeing how our team would respond without our top scorer,” added Poitras. “We showed a lot of heart. Credit to the Bisons, though. They exploited our weaknesses tonight.”
The Heat will return home for their final weekend series of the regular season on February 7th and 8th, as UBC Okanagan will play host to the Regina Cougars. Saturday, February 8th, will be Senior’s Night, as the Heat will honour their two graduating players Nate Speijer and Davis Proch.
The Heat’s record now stands at 4-16, while the Bisons are still in the hunt for the playoffs at 9-11.