No. 4 Brandon bests host UBC Okanagan at the net to close out regular season
By Cary Mellon on February 7, 2015
Unranked UBC Okanagan nearly matches the Bobcats in kills, but an impenetrable blocking wall proved too tough to break as the Heat drop their final game. Jim Bell has match high 13 kills.
Men’s Volleyball (Canada West conference play)
|UBC Okanagan (6-18)||24||18||11||0|
KELOWNA, B.C. – Neither team had much to play for other than pride Saturday night, but the visiting Brandon Bobcats men’s volleyball team eventually took down their host UBC Okanagan in straight sets despite a near upset in the first (26-24, 25-18, 25-11).
The Heat trailed the majority of the first set until third-year Jim Bell served up three straight points to take a 24-22 lead over the Bobcats. With the Heat poised to upset the No.4 team and take at least a single set for the weekend, both Sam Tuivai and Sebastien Steigmeier got a pair of kills to go to knot things up. UBC Okanagan would talk things over in timeout, but an unfortunate pair of attack errors subsequently saw Brandon take the set.
The first was as close as the Heat would get as the following sets were downhill from then on. The Bobcats solidified their defense at the net tightened up some service errors from the first set to cruise the rest of the way. Brandon had 22 blocks to the Heat’s 11.
Once again New Zealand product Tuivai led the charge for the Bobcats with 12 kills (.259) while also adding six blocks—both team highs, though Brendan White would tie that blocking mark. Steigmeier added eight kills just behind with seven digs as well.
Jim Bell led the match with 13 kills for the Heat, chipping in three blocks as well. Libero Jeremy Fostvelt dug up a match-high eight digs in the effort.
Brandon University now completes 19-5 record for the 2014-15 season, and will host a Canada West Quarter Finals series versus an opponent to be yet determined.
The loss sets UBC Okanagan’s record to 6-18 for the year, good for 11th in the conference with an improvement of two wins on the previous year. The Heat will head into the offseason and will return to action next fall.
Putting the year into perspective, Heat coach Greg Poitras espoused about a lot of lessons learned: “Some hard lessons … We got a sniff of our high end, and the level we can play at, and we also got a huge taste of how poor we can play as well. It does motivate guys that they can rise to the occasion. We just need that to happen over a longer period of time.”
The squad will not be graduating any players this year, and could very well return most of if not all of the current roster for next year. “We’re still [like] little puppy dogs,” Poitras went on. “We’re playing some good teams, teams that are older than us … that have different kinds of experiences.”
Heading into the offseason, Poitras has already reflected a little on the work in the gym he has in store for his guys, and the basis is simple. “We’re going to have to break down our skills a bit and start from scratch ,” he said. “Things that we don’t have time to work on during the season because we’re doing a lot of system practice. We’ve got to get in there and start to rep out some of the deficiencies in our skills.”
Remember to tune in to canadawest.tv next season and for the Canada West playoffs beginning next week for live action and stats.