(FREDERICTON, N.B.) The UNB Varsity Reds have forced a third and deciding match in the 2018 Subway AUS Men's Volleyball Championship series.
The Varsity Reds beat the Dalhousie Tigers 3-1 Saturday night, tying the best of three series at a match apiece. Match three will be played in Halifax, next Friday.
UNB won 24-26, 25-23, 25-23 and 25-16.
Fifth-year senior Ryan Colpitts (Fredericton, N.B.) had a match-high 17 kills and six digs for UNB, earning Subway Player of the Match honours.
"Obvioulsy, you don't want to go out with a loss," said Colpitts, who was playing in his final match at UNB's Richard J. Currie Center. "Our team really stepped up from last weekend. We passed better, we served tougher and were more efficient offensively."
Connor McConnell (Hanwell, N.B.) and Pascal McCarthy (Fredericton, N.B.) each had 15 kills, while Kent Doucette (Tignish, P.E.I.) had a match-high 13 digs.
Matt Donovan (London, Ont.) had 15 kills to lead the Tigers, while Adam Spragg (Gilford, Ont.) recorded 31 serve assists.
"It was a very similar match," said Tigers second year middle Graham Schmuland (Calgary, Alta.), comparing Saturday's match to last weekend's. "We just didn't bring our 'A' game tonight and they came out swinging."
The match was close from the opening serve.
In the first set, the Tigers used a 4-0 run to open a 16-11 lead at the technical time-out.
The Varsity Reds rallied, tying the set 17-17.
The set was tied at 21, 22, 23 and 24 before Schmuland served the final two points for Dal's 26-24 win.
The second set was just as close as the first, with the Varsity Reds holding a 16-14 lead at the technical time-out.
UNB went up 22-19 before Dal tied it 22-22.
A couple of Pascal McCarthy kills gave the Varsity Reds the 25-23 set victory, their first of the championship series.
Dal looked to take control in the third set, building an early 11-7 lead.
But a 5-0 Varsity Reds run saw them lead 16-13 at the technical time-out.
Steady back and forth play, and another McCarthy kill saw UNB score the set win 25-23.
The Varsity Reds controlled the fourth set from start to finish.
UNB built a 13-7 lead and were up 16-10 at the technical time-out.
A pair of Connor McConnell kills helped extend UNB's lead to 23-14 before a brief Dal rally.
A Ryan Colpitts kill ended the set and the match, the Varsity Reds winning 25-16.
That sent most of the almost 900 fans in attendance home happy.
"We appreciated the support from everyone who came out," said Colpitts.
"I'm incredibly proud of our guys," said Varsity Reds head coach Dan McMorran. "I've been on them a lot this year, trying to take that next step. We just have to battle, and I thought we battled today. We won some ugly plays, and we weren't winning them before. We ended up persevering and fighting and staying in those plays. I thought that was a real difference-maker."
"They kept rising, steadily, and we kept tapering off, unfortunately," said Schmuland.
The deciding match in the series goes Friday, at 7 p.m., at Dal.
"We're in tough going down there, trying to three-peat," said McMorran. "I hope our guys take the positive from this. It's not even so much the result, but that we were able to battle and were disciplined and fought for absolutely every point."
Source: Andy Campbell for UNB Athletics