EDMONTON – The UBC Okanagan Heat closed out a weekend sweep of the MacEwan Griffins on Saturday night, with their second 3-1 victory in Edmonton. With the win they improve to a record of three wins and five losses so far on the season, and are within a weekend of a .500 record heading into their bye week.
The difference was the Heat attack once again, as they out-hit the Griffins in every set and were able to put swings through and around the Griffins' blocks consistently.
After dropping the opening frame the Heat were on a mission, swinging hard both from the service line and at the net, closing out three straight closely contested sets for the win.
First Set: (23-25)
The Heat were ahead early in the opening set, jumping out to 5-3, but the Griffins rallied back and took control for most of the remainder of the first half of the frame. At the technical time-out the Heat had managed to earn another lead, and were up 16-15.
The Griffins took over effectively after the break, not letting the Heat score consecutive points for the remainder. Kills from Max Vriend and Ryan Zachary combined with a carrying call to close out the set for the home side.
Second Set: (25-23)
The second was just as close as the first. The Heat were playing from behind throughout the early stages, as a pair of four-point runs saw them tie it up at 6-6 and then slip out to a one-point lead at 11-10. At the technical time-out, the Griffins were ahead by a couple once again, at 16-14 after three straight GMU points were earned by Max Vriend kills.
After the break the Heat put together a five-point run to pull ahead 20-17, but were forced to call a time-out after the Griffins cut the lead to just one at 22-21. A huge kill from Vriend then tied it up at 22, and traded kills made it 23 apiece before a missed serve gave the Heat set point. A huge block by Joshua Harvey and Morgan Nichols shut down a powerful swing by Jordan Peters, and locked up the set win for the Heat.
Third Set: (25-22)
A pair of three-point runs for the Griffins had the home side up 7-2 early. A three-point run in response brought the Heat to within three, down 9-6, and forced a GMU time-out. The Heat were able to tie it up a few points later at 14-14, but the Griffins scored a pair and took a 16-14 lead into the technical time-out.
After the break the Heat scored three straight on a pair of kills and a service ace, and forced a GMU time-out as they took a 17-16 lead. MacEwan then tied it up at 17, 18, and 19 apiece before the Heat strung a couple together to pull ahead to set point at 24-21. Another Bornemann kill provided the final point, and put the Heat ahead 2-1 in the match.
Fourth Set: (25-19)
The fourth started out close, and was tied early at 3-3. A Heat run after that forced a pair of GMU time-outs, the first with the visitors up 6-3 and the second up 10-4. At the technical time-out, the Heat were ahead 16-10.
The Heat maintained that lead after the break, as they were up 20-16 before back-to-back huge kills from Bornemann extended the lead to six at 22-16. A Cote tip made it 23-17, who then set up match point at 24-18 with a huge kill. It was Cote once again to close it out, as he absolutely buried a swing to complete the weekend sweep.
Lars Bornemann finished with a match-high 23 kills, and had a hitting percentage of .373. Devon Cote and Jon Russo rounded out the podium of hitters for the Heat, with 12 and 11 kills respectively. Morgan Nichols and Lucas Robertson both contributed significantly to setting up the Heat attack, with 25 and 21 assists in the match.
Ryan Zachary (14), Kai Hesthammer (13), and Max Vriend (11) all finished in double digits in kills for the Griffins on Saturday night. Caleb Weiss was the primary setup man for MacEwan's attack, finishing with 32 assists.
Hesthammer and Zachary also led the way in digs, with 14 and 13 respectively, while Vriend led in total blocks, with 5.
By the Numbers:
The Heat attack was once again better on Saturday night, finishing ahead in kills (54-50) and hitting percentage (.224 - .182), as well as committing fewer errors (21-24).
The Heat also finished ahead in assists (52-46), service aces (7-3), digs (59-57), and total blocks (11-7).
The UBC Okanagan Heat (2-5) are on a bye next week, so their next matches will be a pair against the Regina Cougars (1-7) on November 24 & 25.
Next up for the MacEwan is a trip to Winnipeg for be a pair of matches at the Manitoba Bisons on November 17 & 18.
~ Grayson B. Leahy, Heat Sports Information