Brandon, MB – It was a tough start to a four-game road trip for the Heat men’s volleyball team as they fell on Friday night against the nationally ranked Brandon Bobcats in straight sets.

After a close first set, and a late second set lead that was lost by UBCO, the home team would control the third set to cruise throughout to the three-set victory.

The Heat will now fall to 5-10 on the season and have lost five straight since the end of November. With nine games left still in the regular season, the Heat are now two wins back of the final playoff spot. Brandon improved to 11-4 on the season, which has them sitting in fourth in the Canada West and ranked #3 in the U SPORTS rankings.

First set: (25-21):

The first set saw both teams exchange 3-0 runs. Brandon’s deficit was 16-14 at the technical timeout, before racking up five straight points to lead 19-16. The 5-0 run was critical in setting the stage for a first-set win.

Second set: (25-23):

UBC Okanagan used a 6-0 run in the second set to grab a 7-2 lead. The Heat held their ground going into the technical timeout up 16-11. BU countered with a 6-2 run to tie it 20-20. The Bobcats then turned up the heat with a 4-1 run to secure the second. Lars Bornemann was great in the first two sets for UBCO with 13 kills and hitting over 35-percent (.357) to that point in the match.

Third set: (25-10):

The Bobcats’ offence started to cook in the third, thanks in large part to a 5-0 start. BU extended their advantage to 9-3 before building a 16-8 lead at the technical timeout. Brandon finished off the match in style by scoring six straight points.

Individual performances:

– It was a familiar face leading the way for the Heat as Lars Bornemann continued his strong play with a game-high 14 kills along with 12 digs for a double-double.

– Third year Kelowna product Devon Cote finished with eight kills of his own on the night along with three digs

– Elliot Viles was the Bobcats leading scorer on the night, with nine kills along with four service aces and three blocks

Inside the numbers:

– The Brandon offense would hit .312 on the evening, compared to just .121 for the visiting Heat

– A key part of the match was the Cats’ strong service game, as they had 10 service aces compared to just two for the visiting Heat.

– The Heat would finish with more assists on the night however (34-28), with Jon Russo leading all players with 28.

What’s next:

– These will be back at it on Saturday night in the rematch with first serve going at 4:45 p.m. PST in Brandon.

~ Oliver Rizun, Heat sports information