KELOWNA, BC – The UBC Okanagan Heat men’s volleyball team took down the visiting MacEwan Griffins in the UBC Okanagan gymnasium on Friday night. Set scores were 25-15, 20-25, 25-19, and 25-22.
As a team on Friday night the Heat had the better attack, finishing with 56 kills and a .389 hitting percentage while the Griffins had 44 on .205. Total blocks were 7-6 for MacEwan, and digs were 45-32 for UBC Okanagan.
The Griffins took the lead early in the fourth set, going up 2-0, before the teams traded three-point runs putting MacEwan ahead 5-3. Another three-point run by the Heat put them up 10-9, and at the technical time-out it was still close as an off-handed kill by Lars Bornemann put them up 16-15. The teams traded points and leads from then on, another kill from Bornemann gave the Heat match point at 24-21. Crushing another kill, Bornemann closed out the set and the match with the final point.
Individually it was Lars Bornemann with the best night on the attack, finishing with 17 kills on a .375 hitting percentage. Behind him for the Heat were Kyle Hinchey and Devon Cote with 12 kills apiece.
For MacEwan, Jordan Peters and Kai Hesthammer led the way with 13 kills each. They also finished tied for a team-high in service aces with two apiece.
The Heat were dominant in the first set, winning it 25-15. They had 12 kills and made zero errors to hit .600 while the Griffins had 11 and hit .172. The Heat had far more success stringing consecutive points together in the frame, and they only allowed the Griffins to score more than twice in a row once. A four-point run put UBCO up 9-6, and from then on they didn’t relinquish the lead.
MacEwan elevated their game in the second set, which they would win 25-20. At the technical time-out the Heat were ahead 16-15 after the Griffins went on a run to tie it at 15 after being down 13-9. Six straight points for the visitors after they were down 17-16 made all the difference for MacEwan, as they jumped ahead 22-17. A pair of kills from Devon Cote provided the Heat’s 19th and 20th points, but a kill from Kai Hesthammer in response for the Griffins cemented their set win.
The third set saw the Heat once again take control, as they never allowed the Griffins to lead. There were three ties early on, but a three-point run by the Heat to go ahead 11-7 was the turning point. At the technical time-out UBCO were up 16-11, and as close as MacEwan would come from then on was within three points, down 21-18. Back-to-back kills for the Heat, courtesy of Alex Swiatlowski and Joshua Harvey, gave UBCO set point at 24-18, and a powerful kill from Lars Bornemann provided the final point as the Heat took the set 25-19 and took a 2-1 lead in the match.
The UBC Okanagan Heat (8-15) and the MacEwan Griffins (4-19) will play again Saturday night, with the annual Seniors Night ceremony to honour graduating student-athletes happening before the match. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the UBC Okanagan gymnasium.
On Saturday night UBC Okanagan will honour the graduates from both the men’s and women’s volleyball teams as they play their last matches in front of their home town fans. From the women’s team Emily Oxland, Megan Festival, and Kaitlynn Given will be honoured with Alex Swiatlowski, and Grant Sonnenberg from the men’s side.
~ Grayson Leahy, UBC Okanagan