(HALIFAX, N.S.) - The Tigers have taken a 1-0 lead over the UNB Varsity Reds in the 2015 Subway AUS Men's Volleyball Championship series at Dalplex, winning the first game in straight sets.
The Tigers got off to an 8-2 lead in the first set and managed to maintain that lead to win the first set 25-22, depsite constant pressure from the Varsity Reds who were plaqued with service errors early on.
It was UNB who got on the board first in the second set until the Tigers found a groove, thanks to steady serving from fourth-year middle blocker Connor Maessen (Dartmouth, N.S.) and AUS all-star Jonathan Macdonald (Halifax, N.S.) to get to the technical time out ahead 16-13.
Tied at 20 in the second, the Varsity Reds and Tigers traded points until Dal managed two points in a row to take the second set 26-24.
The Varsity Reds had a 5-0 lead early in the third forcing AUS coach of the year, Dan Ota, to take a time out. UNB continued to lead thanks to unforced errors by the Tigers and great performances from third-year outside hitter Eivind Andersen (Sardnes, Norway) and AUS all-star Craig Toonders (Navan, O.N.).
The Tigers would claw their way back to take over the lead 21-17 thanks to UNB unforced errors and stellar attacks by AUS MVP Bryan Duquette (St. Thomas, O.N.) and fourth-year outside hitter Alex Dempsey (Halifax, N.S.). They never looked back, taking the third and final set 25-17, claiming a 1-0 lead in the Subway AUS Championship series.
UNB's Subway Player of the Game was Toonders, who had 10.0 points that inlcuded four kills and six stuff blocks. Andersen had 13 kills, eight digs and two stuff blocks in the match.
Dempsey recorded nine kills, three digs, a block and an ace, earning him Subway Player of the Game honours for the Tigers. Duquette had 10 kills and eight digs, while AUS Libero of the Year, Adam Sandeson had a game-high 13 digs.
UNB head coach Dan McMorran said it was a frustrating match for the team tonight.
"Things we've been looking at for two weeks against this team - when we remember to do them, we have a good result. When we don't, they're too good of a team, they play too consistent volleyball for us to miss our responsibilities," McMorran said.
"So we're going back to Fredericton, and this season we've yet to find our groove. We don't think it's too late to find our groove, but we're under the wire right now."
The second match of the 2015 Subway AUS Men's Volleyball Championship takes place Saturday, February 14 at 2:00 p.m. at UNB.
With files from Dalhousie Sports Information.