Game recap by: Kirk Jessome
(Halifax, NS) – In the first matchup of a back to back set, the Dalhousie Tigers hosted the UNB Reds in Friday night volleyball action. In a marathon matchup, the Tigers were strong in the fifth set to come away with a 3-2 win.
The teams traded kills early, but the Tigers were able to string a run of five points in a row together, with kills coming from Kobe Shannon (Halifax, NS) and Jeffrey Walton (Sudbury, ON) to make it an early 10-5 lead in the set.
The Reds were able to make a run of their own soon after, with their size at the net being a major factor, as Brad Stewart (Wolfville, NS) got in on two blocks and picked up a kill of his own as the Reds climbed back into the lead.
At the technical break, the Reds were leading 16-13.
Even though they were only down three, the Tigers had to fight their way back into the set, and they did so by evening it up at 22-22 with a big kill from Graham Schmuland (Calgary, AB).
The teams needed extra points to decide the set, with Kobe Shannon carrying the load for the Tigers, and a combination of Stewart and Eduardo Luchese (Bento Goncalves, Brazil) were collecting kills for the Reds.
Set point changed hands eight times during the extra points, but the Reds were the ones who were able to string two points together with blocks from Erik Kodrič (Lubljana, Slov.) and Stewart sealed the marathon set win at 32-30.
With the second set tight early, the Tigers got out to a lead before the technical break with some great serving from Graham Schmuland, picking up back to back aces. The strong service game continued for the Tigers, as another ace, this time from the hand of Malachy Shannon (Halifax, NS), sent the teams into the break with the Tigers leading 16-12.
The Tigers were able to extend that lead on the other side of the break, with Kobe Shannon picking up a kill on the way to three straight points and a 19-13 lead, forcing a timeout from the Reds.
The Reds refused to go away late in the set, but the Tigers were able to finish it off with a crafty kill from setter Malachy Shannon to make it 25-19, evening up the match at 1-1.
The hitting accuracy of both teams greatly picked up in the third set, with both sides picking up plenty of kills early in the set, with the Tigers holding a slight advantage at 12-8 off the hand off Jeffrey Walton.
The Tigers were able to carry that lead into the technical timeout, heading into the break with three straight points, back to back coming from blocks by Matthew Woods (Halifax, NS), leading 16-10.
Continuing their strong presence at the net out of the break, the Tigers picked up two more blocks right away, and extended their lead up to 21-13 late in the set.
The Reds picked up a few kills from Luchese and Calum Doherty (London, ON) in an attempt to get back in the set, but Graham Schmuland hammered home another kill to give the Tigers the 25-17 third set win to take the lead.
The teams traded points early in the fourth set, with Connor McConnell (Hanwell, NB) collected a kill and service ace early for UNB, but the Tigers held a 10-6 lead with kills from Walton and Shannon.
Battling back in the set, however, the Reds took over the lead heading into the technical break on kills from McConnell and Tynan Murphy (Montague, PEI) to put their team up 16-15.
The Reds looked threatening late in the set with Kodrič and Bradley Merryweather (New Maryland, NB) getting in on three huge blocks to put themselves up 22-19.
The Tigers fought to stay in the set with kills from Schmuland and Kobe Shannon, but the Reds were able to take the fourth set 25-22 with McConnell sending home the final kill to force a fifth and final set.
The Tigers got off to a great start in the final set on the serving of Kobe Shannon, and kills from Schmuland as they led 8-3 at the end change.
The Tigers kept growing that lead as they reached match point on a beautiful tip kill from Matthew Woods, and a service error from the Reds gave the Tigers a 15-8 win in the final set to take the 3-2 victory.
Eduardo Luchese had 15 kills and 12 digs for the Reds, while Graham Schmuland finished with a game-high 18 kills, 6 service aces, and 4 blocks to earn the Subway Player of the Game for the Tigers.
The two teams will be back on the court tomorrow for a rematch, starting at 3:30pm at the Dalplex.