WINNIPEG – The UBC Okanagan men's volleyball team closed out their season early Saturday night when they dropped a straight sets decision to their host, the University of Manitoba Bisons.
With the 3-0 (25-21, 25-13, 25-20) win over UBCO at the Investors Group Athletic Centre, Manitoba clinched a Canada West men's volleyball playoff spot on the final day of the conference schedule.
With the win the Bisons ended the season on a four-game win streak and moved their record to 11-13, securing a spot in the Canada West playoffs. UBCO finished their year on a 14-game losing streak and with a record of 5-19.
UBC Okanagan played a varied lineup with all 12 in uniform seeing the floor in the final day but graduating senior Lars Bornemann still led the team finishing with a team high 14 kills.
First set (25-21)
The first set was close to start off, with neither team able to grab a significant lead. Powerful kills were pounding the court of IGAC on both sides. Lars Bornemann had six kills in the first set for UBCO as did Brodie Kern.
Manitoba finally grabbed the lead at the technical timeout after some key kills from Scott Vercaigne, he finished the set with seven. Manitoba eventually won 25-21 and with that set victory, secured the final playoff spot in the Canada West.
Second set (25-13)
UBCO made some personnel changes in the second set, but the Bisons were able to continue their barrage. Bison setter Jack Mandryk got Manitoba the 16-11 lead with a cheeky tip to an open corner and a service ace. Dustin Spiring made an incredible play and used his toe to keep the ball alive to give Manitoba a 20-12 lead. The Bisons took the second set 25-13. Bornemann had three kills in the set, Devon Cote with two and served the Heat's only ace in the second.
Third set (25-20)
The third set was much closer all the way through, but the Bisons took the set and the match 25-20. Vercaigne, playing in his last game at home as a Bison was on fire again in the third set, powering kills down the line. Adam DeJonckheere, also playing in his last home game as a Bison was not to be outdone, smacking home 11 kills on the night, including the last one to win the match.
Bornemann in the final set of his career went for five kills on 14 swings, spun an ace and added a dig. Brodie Kern added three more kills in the third.
Lars Bornemann plays his final match for UBCO and holds the record in kills with 1275. That total is also sixth best in Canada West history. He also finishes with 591 career digs and 1475.5 points, playing in a school record 118 matches and 426 sets. He also finished with 87 service aces in his career. His fifth year was his best, he averaged 4.5 points per set with 339 kills (3rd in the conference) and 4.08 kills/set (2nd in the conference) all at a .259 attack rate.
Joshua Harvey wrapped up his career with 100 matches played in which he totaled 447 kills at an impressively efficient .309 attack rate, and 663.5 points. Of his 300 career blocks 61 of them were of the solo variety.
Second year nursing student from West Kelowna, Brodie Kern, had his career best night when he hammered home nine kills on 19 swings (.263).
Manitoba will be heading to British Columbia for the first round of the playoffs on Feb. 22-25 against either the UBC Thunderbirds or the Trinity Western Spartans. The Heat's season comes to an end missing the playoffs in 2017-18.
Bison notes: Fifth year players Adam DeJonckheere and Scott Vercaigne were honoured after the game as they were playing in their last home game in a Bison uniform.
~ With notes from Ryan Stelter, Bison Sports