KELOWNA, B.C. – The Heat men’s volleyball team was not able to slow down a potent Alberta Golden Bears offense on Saturday night, as the Heat would lose in three sets to the fifth ranked team in the country.
With the loss, the Heat fall to 5-9 on the season, which puts them tied for the last playoff spot in the Canada West with 10 games remaining. Lars Bornemann did his best to keep the Heat in the game, as he had a team-high 11 kills on the night along with three digs. The fifth year outside hitter ranks second in the conference in kills behind only his counter-part on the night, Taryq Sani. Sani would have a relatively quiet night for the visitors, totaling just nine kills.
By the numbers:
– The efficient hitting of the visitors was the main difference on the night, as they had nine more kills (38-29), and a hitting percentage at almost .400 (.387). The Heat hit just .115 in the match.
– Both teams struggled from the service line, as the Heat had 10 service errors, while the Golden Bears had eight of their own.
– Alberta did a terrific job on defense to make life difficult on the Heat offense which led to having 12 more digs then the home team (33-21)
First set (25-15):
The first set was highlighted by Lars Bornemann getting a kill using his left-hand early on, which ignited the crowd. This was one of the few bright spots for the team in the first frame, as they would trail early 10-5, and eventually be down seven (16-9) at the first set technical timeout. Even after a Bornemann kill, the Heat still trailed 19-13 and would not able to find any momentum at the end of the first set.
Second set (25-16):
The Heat showed toughness and resilience in the second set, as they would trail early (10-5) but eventually make it a two point game at 12-10. This is when the Pandas showed their experience and offensive abilities, building up the lead once again to 20-13. In the second set, Alberta hit an astonishing .444 as a team compared to just .091 and this proved to be the difference. George Hobern would finish off the second set for the visitors with a kill from fourth year setter Luke Brisbane.
Third set (25-17):
It was a quick start for the Golden Bears in the third set, as they won five of the first six points thanks to two kills from Taryq Sani. A big kill from first year middle Caleb Funk would cut the Heat deficit to just two points at 11-9 but this momentum would end quickly for the Heat. Alberta would not let the team any closer then this two-point margin the rest of the set, eventually winning handily 25-17. The best moment of the third set came however when Sani would jump over his own teams bench and then save the ball from hitting the floor and the Pandas would eventually win the point.
– Second year outside hitter Kyle Hinchey would get his first start since his return from injury and showed off his abilities with nine kills and three digs.
– First year setter Morgan Nichols played well for the Heat, as he had 26 assists along with one kill.
– Alex McMullin led the way for the Golden Bears with a team-high 11 kills on the night, along with a .381 hitting percentage.
– Fourth year setter Luke Brisbane had 10 digs to lead all players along with a team-high 25 assists on the night.
The Heat (5-9) will have a bye next weekend before they travel to Brandon (9-3) to face the Bobcats on Jan. 19th and 20th. The Pandas will continue their road trip next weekend when they travel to face the Mount Royal Cougars (2-11).
~ Oliver Rizun, Heat sports information