KELOWNA, B.C. – The UBC Okanagan Heat fell in their 2018 opener against the University of Alberta Golden Bears, 3-0 on Friday night. Unable to find their swing, the Heat had tough go trying to keep the Bears from stringing together a number of runs that had them leading throughout most of the match. Alberta's defensive presence at the net kept the Heat hitters in check and shut down most would-be comeback runs by the home side.
The difference in the match was all at the net, as the Bears' efficiency on the attack and ability to shut down the Heat's swings had them ahead all night.
First Set: (25-19)
The opener saw each side take a lead early on, with the Golden Bears pulling ahead 4-2 after a three-point run and the Heat responding with four straight of their own to go up 6-4. The Heat stayed ahead until the Bears tied it up at three straight points and then took the lead 12-10 after another run. Stringing points together gave the Heat a slight lead going into the technical time-out, as they were ahead 16-14.
After the break Alberta's offence found their swing, and put together four straight to go ahead 20-18. A five-point run just a point later closed it out, as the visitors capitalized on a number of Heat errors combined with a Taryq Sani kill.
Second Set: (25-20)
The second set started out closely-contested as well, As the team's traded points and were tied at five apiece through the first ten points scored in the frame. The first significant lead came when the Bears strung together four straight points to go ahead 14-12, and they took a 16-14 lead into the technical break.
Another big run including kills from Sani and Jacob Deinum after the break put the visitors up 21-15. The Heat responded with a kill by Caleb Funk and an attacking error by the Bears, but it wouldn't be enough. A kill by Carter McIntyre and an ace from Sani made it set point at 24-19, and despite an impressive Lars Bornemann kill the set ended 25-20.
Third Set: (25-16)
The Heat were unable to find a stronger start in the third, as the visitors jumped out to an early, if not large, lead through the opening half. At the technical time-out the Heat trailed the Bears 16-12.
Out of the break Alberta kept the run alive with a huge block to put them up five, put a kill off a tip, and fought through an extended rally to stretch it to 19-12 and force a Heat time-out. Match point came with the Bears ahead 24-16, and a huge outside block provided the final point of the three-set sweep by the visitors.
U of A:
Taryq Sani led Alberta with 11 kills, Carter McIntyre added 10, and Alex McMullin finished with 7. Luke Brisbane had a match-high 29 assists, and McIntyre led the team with eight digs.
Jacob Deinum was the Bears' man at the net, collecting five total blocks.
By the Numbers:
The Bears were the better hitting team on the night, finishing ahead in kills (35-26) and hitting percentage (.320 - .059). Assists were 34-25 for the visitors.
Total blocks had the Bears ahead 11.5-3, and digs were 30-25 for Alberta.
The UBC Okanagan Heat (5-8) and the University of Alberta Golden Bears (10-3) will meet again tomorrow night, with first serve scheduled for 7 p.m. in the UBC Okanagan gymnasium and live on Canadawest.TV.
~ Grayson B. Leahy – Heat Sports Information