KELOWNA, B.C. - It had been a long time coming for the Heat men's volleyball team but they got that long-awaited win on Friday night against the rival TRU WolfPack.
After the two teams split the opening four sets, UBCO would turn things on in the fifth on the defensive end, shutting down the WolfPack attack and capturing their first win of the conference season.
The win keeps the Presidents' Cup alive for one more day, as TRU (10-11) could have clinched the cup with a win on Friday night. For a full history on the inter-university rivalry and for the full scoring matrix you can click here.
"I'm just happy for our kids, they work really hard and we've obviously had a really tough year and to all of their credit they are all fully committed to the process and know what we are trying to accomplish," commented Brad Hudson following his team's first victory of the Canada West season
"They all have pride and they all work hard and I'm really happy for them."
With the loss, the WolfPack now sit tied-sixth in the standings and have plenty to still play for in their final match tomorrow.
The service line was one of the main deciders in the match, as TRU was very aggressive all night long and finished with 23 service errors but 14 aces. The Heat had six aces compared to 11 errors from behind the line.
Cam Vanderveen led the Heat attack with 12 kills on the night while Matt Aubrey had 10 kills along with two timely service aces late on in the match. Libero Noah Campbell also did a great job all night long on the hard-serving 'Pack, finishing with 12 digs while Johnson Yi racked up seven blocks.
Outside hitter Tim Dobbert continued his strong play for the visitors, finishing with 24 kills and 11 digs while Charlie Bringloe had 14 kills of his own.
These two teams will meet up tomorrow night in the Okanagan gym with the first serve slated for approximately 7 p.m. PST. The match will also feature as Senior night, as the Heat honour their four graduating players from the men's and women's programs.
In one of the fastest starts in program history, the Heat scored the first five points of the match to lead early in the first and led 16-12 at the media timeout midway through the frame. Hunter Scott closed out the frame in style with back-to-back big swings from the right side off passes from Denham O'Reilly, and the Heat took the opener 25-22 in front of a raucous home crowd.
Both teams found some rhythm offensively in the second, as the 'Pack found some success in the middle of the court along with Dobbert on the outside. TRU held the upper-hand throughout as the Heat were never able to get within less than three points, eventually falling 25-20 in the second.
The third was nearly a disaster for the Heat as they held a 21-15 lead but let the visitors back in it thanks to a couple attack errors from their outside hitters. TRU tied things back up at 22 all but the home team showed great mental toughness, scoring three of the next four to take the set. This included a huge stuff block from Max Heppell and Johnson Yi on set point.
It was an impressive fourth set offensively for the 'Pack, as they racked up 12 kills and just one attack errors on 19 attempts to take command early and never let the home team back into the frame. The fourth finished 25-12 TRU as they pushed the match into a fifth and deciding set.
In a pressure-packed fifth set, UBCO scored four straight early to take the advantage and with the score 7-6 Heat, they went on a big run to put the match out of reach. The rookie Vanderveen closed things out in style with a big swing from the left side as the Heat bench erupted following their first win of the season.
~ Oliver Rizun, Heat Sports Information