The men’s V-ball Tigers kept their season alive with a 3-2 (18-25, 25-21, 25-17, 23-25, 15-9) win in a five set thriller over the UNB Varsity Reds on Saturday Feb. 27 in Fredericton.
With the win, the Tigers force a decisive third match at the Dalplex on Friday, Mar. 4. The winner will take home the 2015-16 AUS championship.
It was a rough start to the match for the Tigers. The two sides traded points in the early going of the first set. They were even at 12-12, but then the Varsity Reds went on a run, outscoring the Tigers 13-6 to close out the first set 18-25.
The Tigers were able to take their game to another level in the second set. With the set tied at 8-8, the Tigers started to build a lead. They stretched that lead to six points at 19-13 and seemed to be on their way to an easy second set win.
The Varsity Reds refused to back down and were able to close the lead to 23-21 before making back-to-back errors to give the Tigers the second set 25-21.
The Tigers carried the momentum into the third set. A kill by Kristen O’Brian gave the Tigers a 4-3 lead early in the set and they didn’t look back. Another O’Brian kill put the Tigers in front 17-9 forcing the Varsity Reds to take a time-out. The Varsity Reds went on a three-point run out of the time-out but the Tigers responded with a four-point run of their own. A Mathew Donovan kill ended the set at 25-17 Tigers.
Hoping to win the championship on their home court the Varsity Reds responded in the fourth set. It was a battle throughout with the biggest lead being an 11-15 advantage for the Varsity Reds. A Donovan kill made it 23-24 but Pascal McCarthy came up with a kill of his own to give the set to the Varsity Reds 23-25.
With the season on the line for the Tigers trailing 7-8 in the decisive fifth set, they dug deep to find points. A Donovan kill tied it up at 8-8, a Varsity Red error made it 9-8, a Connor Maessen kill gave the Tigers a 10-8 advantage, each team traded errors to make it 11-9, another Maessen kill for 12-9, a bad set by the Varsity Reds for 13-9, A Harrison Callaghan kill for 14-9 and a Varsity Reds error gave the Tigers the set at 15-9 and the match 3-2.
Donovan finished up with a monstrous 19K. O’Brian added 13K and Callaghan 10K. Jonathan McDonald was stellar with 45A. Adam Sandeson came up with 21DIGS.