Game recap by: Kirk Jessome
(Halifax, NS) – With the first of many installments of regular season matchups, the Dalhousie Tigers hosted the UNB Varsity Reds at the Dalplex. After finding themselves down early in sets, the Tigers were able to rally back each time and take a 3-1 win in the match.
The very first point of the match provided an early highlight for the Varsity Reds. The Tigers delivered a hard attack, but Drew Duncan (Winnipeg, MB) came up with a fantastic dig to save the point.
UNB jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead in the set, but after a timeout the Tigers were able to rally back and chip away at the lead and tie it up at 12-12, with three kills coming from Matthew Donovan (London, ON) early.
UNB went into the technical break with the slight edge at 16-15, led by Brad Stewart (Wolfville, NS) with a crafty kill on the second touch.
The Tigers came out of the break with four straight points, led by kills from Donovan, and were able to increase their lead to 23-19 and force UNB to take a timeout. After picking up another one of his eight first-set kills, Donovan delivered a service ace to give the Tigers the first set with a 25-21 score.
Points were traded early in the second set, with Nicolas Faulkner (Truro, NS) providing kills for the Tigers, but UNB was able to get ahead 9-5 in the set with help from Pascal McCarthy (Fredericton, NB) delivering three kills early.
Down 14-8 the Tigers once again were able to put together points with strong serving, and errors from the UNB side, and managed to take their first lead since the first point of the set as the Tigers led 16-15 heading into the technical timeout.
UNB came out of the break flying as they picked up the next four points with three hard kills, forcing the Tigers to call a timeout. The Tigers fought back to get the set within one as kills were traded back and forth, but UNB held on to their slight lead and took the second set 25-22 with Brad Stewart closing it out with a kill.
Both teams were collecting kills at a high rate early in the set, with only one hit in the first 15 points resulting in an error. They were traded early, till Matthew Donovan picked up three kills in a row to give the Tigers a three-point lead that was carried into the technical timeout with a score of 16-13. Pascal McCarthy continued to lead the Varsity Reds attack, with Ryan Colpitts (Fredericton, NB) providing key contributions.
Jeffrey Walton (Sudbury, ON) put together an impressive display that was proving difficult to deal with for the Varsity Reds as the Tigers stretched their lead to 19-13 out of the break, but Steven Randall (Hanwell, NB) ended the run with a big kill, as well as a service ace directly afterward. The Varsity Reds were able to bring the set within three, but a big kill by Donovan gave the Tigers the 25-20 win in the set to put them up 2-1.
Points were traded back and forth in the fourth set, with neither team able to gain a lead. The Tigers spread their offense around, getting kills from Matthew Woods (Halifax, NS) as well as Kobe Shannon (Halifax, NS) and Graham Schmuland (Calgary, AB). The Varsity Reds were led by McCarthy, Stewart, and Colpitts with strong kills.
Both teams fought to take the lead late in the match, as the Tigers looked to close it out, and UNB fought to force a fifth set. The Tigers were up 25-24 with the ball in Schmuland's hands, and he delivered his serve on the line of the back court to give the Tigers the 26-24 win in the set, and the match 3-1.
The Subway Player of the Game was Matthew Donovan of the Tigers for his game-high 21 kills, and 10 digs. Pascal McCarthy finished with 17 kills in the match for the Varsity Reds.
Both teams will face off again tomorrow as the second part of the double-header.