KELOWNA, B.C. - Down two sets to one, the UBCO Heat rallied past the record-breaking performance of Max Vriend to win in five sets against the MacEwan Griffins on Friday night at the UBC Okanagan Gymnasium.
The Heat got strong performances from both Max Heppell and Denham O'Reilly who both recorded double-digit kills. Heppell would finish with 18 and eight digs as O'Reilly, who played arguably his best game in a Heat uniform, ended with 20 kills, a new career-high, adding 18 digs, a season-best.
However, it would be Vriend stealing the show. The fifth-year set the best mark of any one player this season in Canada West with 32 kills, the fifth-best single-game total in conference history. He totalled 65 attacks, adding 13 digs and four blocks on the defensive side.
The win, their first since January 2019, improves the Heat's record to (1-16) while the loss drops the Huskies to (2-17).
Vriend would come out swinging with 10 kills in the first set for the visiting Griffins, but, after getting up early the Heat were able to hold off a late charge, taking the set (27-25).
The Griffins would bounce back to take the second set (25-21) boosted by Jefferson Morrow and Jordan Krause, who both recorded eight kills each by the end of the frame.
MacEwan would take the third set but the Heat would respond to take the fourth, forcing a fifth and final frame.
UBCO would strike first in the tiebreaker, but the Griffins would keep going to their reliable go-to man in Vriend. With the set tied at four's Vriend hit back-to-back kills to give the Griffins the lead.
The Heat would respond and O'Reilly would take over the stanza leading UBCO on a (9-3) run to take the match.
As for the visiting Griffins, three players would finish with 10 or more kills. Along with Vriend, Morrow added 11 and Krause chipped in 10. Jonathan Mohler recorded a game-high 54 assists and led his team with 13 digs.
The two teams rematch tomorrow night at 6 p.m. PST
All action can be watched live on Canada West tv presented by Co-op.
~Brandon Smith, Heat Sports Information