UNB takes 1st match 3-1 over UBC

UNB takes 1st match 3-1 over UBC

FREDERICTON, NB – The UNB Varsity Reds men's volleyball team took the first of a two game series in four sets against the UBC Thunderbirds Wednesday at the Richard J Currie Center.

UNB came out of the off-season after taking second in the AUS last year, while in their second preseason matchup UBC had finished fifth in the CWUAA. UBC had previously defeated Mount Royal University 3-1.

 Starting off their first set of the season, UNB were slow out of the gate. UBC tested their defense early, with some good service runs and a few attacks at the net that seemed to have UNB's defense on its heels.
But as they shook off the rust, UNB began to close the gap evening up the score 15-15 halfway through the set in front of the home crowd. From there on it was a battle back and forth, jockeying for the outright lead. 

After stringing together a few small service runs, and some key blocks from the frontcourt, UNB took the set 25-22, despite trailing by as much as six early on. UBC was only able to convert six successful kills on the Varsity Reds in the set.

Both teams came out strong in the second set; back and forth they went maintaining a tie for the majority of the set. Both teams also flashed some promising defensive play, using an effective three-man block respectively. The stellar defense at the net and some high velocity kills made for an entertaining set for those in the stands.

All tied and into extra points, it was UBC that made a late push. Depending highly on the offensive power of Irvan Brar (Surrey, B.C.) to push them to a second set win over the Varsity Reds 27-25. The Thunderbirds doubled their kill total to 12, while UNB surrendered nine errors.

Much like the previous set, no team gave an inch in the early points of the third. Though after the technical timeout, UNB began to pour it on, going on a 5-1 run, and never looked back. Setter Mathieu Losier (Fredericton, NB) played a key role, keeping serve during the run, and helped out with two plays at the net, catching UBC off guard.  UNB would go on to win their second set of the match 25-14, setting them up to win it in four. 

With the match on the line, UBC came out and stayed right with the Varsity Reds throughout the fifth. No team could break a three-point lead before it was tied again.  With set point on the line and a chance for UBC to take it to a fifth and final set, UNB battled back to tie it at 24 a piece.

Refusing to let the match go another set, UNB prevailed in extra points on a UBC Kill error to win the match 27-25.

We've been working really hard, and we've still got a tone more work to do, but some of the things we've been working on, basically our block defense system, I thought was good tonight," said UNB head coach Dan McMorran. "We don't get many chances to play a lot of exhibition so these matches here we really wanted to focus on particular aspects of our game, and I thought our guys were activated in that."

The Varsity Reds finished with 56 kills in the match, 17 more than UBC's 39.
Coach McMorran also spoke highly of his four players making their first starts and of veteran setter Matt Losier's performance.

"I thought he set within himself tonight, his decisions were great and as a result we had a lot of one on ones," he said. "Sometimes the ball wasn't perfect but we made the right choices and that at this stage of the game is most important."

The Varsity Reds will look to continue their momentum tomorrow October 1st in the second of this two game series against the UBC Thunderbirds at the Richard J Currie Centre.

Michael Bourgeois for UNB Communications