Men’s volleyball takes Game 1
The Dalhousie Tigers are one game away from reclaiming men’s volleyball supremacy.
It took four sets for Dal to knock the Varsity Reds aside Feb. 17, which perhaps should have been accomplished in three sets, as the streaking Tigers find themselves playing well at the right time, beating UNB 3 – 1 in Game 1 of the best-of-three AUS championship series.
The victory makes it three in a row for the Tigers against the V-Reds. Dal swept the season-ending series last weekend to earn home court advantage in the finals.
The luxury of opening the series at the Dalpex wasn’t taken lightly by the Tigers, said graduating senior Graeme Higgins.
“Last weekend they didn’t play too well in our gym. We had a lot of fans out and the crowd was great again tonight,” he said. “It’s a great feeling to get this win out of the way.”
The slumping Varsity Reds must find a way to win their next two matches if the defending champs want to add another banner to their repertoire.
“The guys have to take a good, hard look at themselves if they want to continue their season; if they want to fight and try to earn another berth to the CIS championships,” said UNB’s head coach Dan McMorran. “It’s on their shoulders right now.”
After regularly playing bridesmaid to the Tigers during Dal’s 24-year reign on top of the conference, UNB snapped that illustrious streak last season. They did so by winning four straight games against Dal, two at the end of the regular season and then two more in the playoffs. The Tigers are now poised to lay the same beating on the Varsity Reds, aiming for their fourth consecutive victory Feb. 19.
UNB fourth-year Matt Sweet doesn’t intend to let that happen.
“We’ve got to let this taste stay in our mouth a bit for Sunday. Remember how this loss feels and come out, change it, and bring it back here for a Game 3,” said Sweet, who paced UNB in the match with 16 kills.
The Tigers should have actually swept the match, if not for some unforced errors at the end of the third set, including two serves that sailed past the court. Dal had three match points in that set but they failed in each attempt, falling 30 – 28 in the end.
The black and gold squeaked out of the fourth set, 26 – 24, to take the game 3 – 1.
Despite the victory, Dal expected a better evening.
“We know we didn’t play our best tonight and, in some respects, we were kind of lucky to win some of those sets,” Higgins conceded. “To still be close even when we weren’t playing very good in that third set is nice.”
The three previous matches between the two rivals have been closely contested, but Higgins says his side has the capability of beating the V-Reds handily.
“I think our team believes that if we play well it’s not going to be that close. You know, we’re expecting a battle, but we know that if we play well we can blow them out.”
The Tigers will hope for a victory Feb. 19 to reclaim the league banner. It won’t matter to them how they get it in the end, blowout or not.
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