CALGARY, AB – The No. 9 UBC Okanagan Heat lost a squeaker 30-28 in the first set, and then were soundly beaten in the second and third as they lost their seventh straight to the No. 6 Calgary Dinos 3-0 (30-28, 25-14, 25-14) Saturday night in the Jack Simpson Gym.
The loss puts UBC Okanagan at 3-7 in its inaugural Canada West season as they hit the December break. The win, the Dinos’ second in as many nights over the Heat, improves Calgary’s record to 7-5.
With a snowfall warning outside the Jack, the Heat went cold as the Dinos turned it up after an entertaining, back-and-forth opening set. It took the Dinos six set-point opportunities to close out UBC Okanagan in the first, but with that 30-28 win out of the way it was smooth sailing for Calgary with back-to-back 25-14 wins to wrap it up.
“Losing the first set took the wind out of our sails a little bit and then we just didn’t make plays,” said Heat coach Greg Poitras. “It is really what it boils down to is that the top teams are making plays over and over and over again; and we’re not transitioning the ball that well, we’re not making enough plays.”
“The first set was good volleyball,” said Dinos head coach Rod Durrant. “Both teams were able to stay in system and execute. We started to make some plays in the second set. We didn’t do a great job defensively in the first, which gave them some points, but in the second and third we were able to improve our blocking and our defence really picked it up – which transferred into our attack.
Once again it was Graham Vigrass leading the way for the Dinos with a 13-kill, five-block, 48 per cent performance. He was backed up by a strong effort by left side Chris Hoag, who put up 11 kills and six digs for the Dinos.
Vigrass is “super-efficient and doesn’t really make errors,” added Poitras, “he made us make plays on defence, our guys were not expecting the attack, even though that was part of our game plan.”
“We didn’t really execute our game plan from start to finish we did for a set and then we forgot about what our game plan was,” said Poitras. “That is something we have to work on at practice. Staying engaged for a full practice, not just one drill to 25.”
Poitras continues to explain how the lack of concentration in practice is directly affecting the teams results, “we are playing tough, and we are playing well against top teams; for one set, to 25, or a set and a half. Well that is how long we seem to be engaged at practice sometimes.”
The Heat got another solid effort in a losing cause from outside hitter Nate Speijer (4th year, Penticton, BC), while fellow fourth year Riley McFarland (Outside hitter, Surrey, BC) put up eight kills and third year Greg Niemantsverdriet (Outside hitter, Vernon, BC) six. Middle Mark Broome (5th year, Kelowna, BC) was successful when he got the ball in the middle, scoring five kills on his seven opportunities.
The Heat wrap up an extended eight-match road swing in its first action of 2012 with a Jan. 13-14 visit to Brandon (5:45 p.m. PST). Calgary has a bye that weekend and returns to the floor Jan. 20-21 when the Dinos host the Saskatchewan Huskies in the Jack Simpson Gym.
GAME NOTES: Nate Speijer was a game time decision and didn’t practice today. “When your best player isn’t physically 100 percent and he is a guy that we depend on we have to look to other guys,” points out Poitras, “and nobody really stepped up other than Riley in the first set, he looked a lot like he did against UBC.” Although McFarland finished with 8 kills, 6 came in the first set tonight….In the Heat’s 7 losses on the season they have only won 1 set. The Heat were unable to force the issue with the Dinos as a team they attacked at 38% compared to the Heat’s 13%.