Saskatoon, SK - Transfer Brennan Goski finished with an impressive double-double but the Heat men's volleyball team would drop the first of two matches with the Saskatchewan Huskies in four sets on Friday afternoon.
After falling in the opening two sets (25-14, 26-24), the Heat bounced back with a convincing 25-18 third set win to keep the match alive.
While the visitors had their opportunities in the fourth, they were unable to complete the comeback, eventually falling 25-22 in the frame.
Brennan Goski had a team-high 16 kills to go with 10 digs and two blocks for the Heat as the former Regina Cougar recorded the most kills so far in his UBCO career.
Max Heppell also would finish with 12 digs and 10 kills for the visiting Heat.
The host Huskies had the advantage on offence and defence in the game, converting on .309 percent of their attacks compared to .164 for UBCO, while also recording 8.5 more blocks in the contest.
Saskatchewan has now won two games in a row and hold a record of 5-6 on the season. For the Heat, the loss continues a difficult start to the season that has seen them drop their first 11 games of Canada West play.
"It's a testament to the strength of our league," said Bennett. "It doesn't matter what a team's record is, our entire league is strong and any team can win on a given night."
Saskatchewan came out firing in the first set, converting on over half of their attempts en route to the 25-14 win. Mortensen and Fraser had four and three kills respectively, while the Huskies also recorded three service aces and four blocks.
"The first set was great, I thought it was a quick start from our guys," said Huskies head coach Nathan Bennett. "We've been struggling with our starts lately so that was a focus for us and I thought we did a really good job."
Led by eight kills from Goski, the Heat held a set-point at 24-23 in the frame but weren't able to put a resilient Huskies squad away. Saskatchewan roared back to take a 25-24 lead and on their first set-point of the frame, Gavlas laid out for a beautiful pancake dig that Cody Caldwell was able to float over the Heat blockers for the 26-24 victory.
The Heat avoided the sweep with their best performance of the match, a 25-18 third set victory. UBCO's .346 hitting percentage in the frame was by far their best of the night with Goski and Aubrey combining for ten of the Heat's 12 kills. Saskatchewan cut the lead to just two points late in the set but five points in a row from UBCO sent the game to a fourth frame.
The turning point in the fourth set came with the score tied 20-20. Two huge digs on the same rally from Fraser ended with a kill from Mortensen. That gave the Huskies the momentum they needed as Fraser, a fifth-year outside-hitter, would end the match with two-straight kills to take the set 25-22.
Both of these teams will be back in action to finish out their weekend series, and their respective 2018 regular season schedules, tomorrow Dec. 1 at 1 p.m. PST.
~ Oliver Rizun, Heat Sports Information, notes from Cameron Doherty, Huskies Athletics