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UNB tops Tigers 3-0

Photo courtesy of James West
Photo courtesy of James West

Source: Andy Campbell, UNB Athletics

(FREDERICTON, NB) The UNB Reds secured third place in the RSEQ standings with a 3-0 win over the Dalhousie Tigers on Saturday.

The Reds won 25-21, 25-19 and 25-20 in the regular season finale for both sides.

With the win, UNB finishes third in the RSEQ, with a 6-and-10 record, while Dal takes fourth place at 5-and-11.

Connor McConnell (Hanwell, NB) led the Reds with a match-high 14 kills and seven digs, while first year setter Brad Merryweather (New Maryland, NB) recorded 33 assists.

"It feels great to get two home Ws," said Merryweather. "It was our overall defensive intensity. I think we were picking up balls that they weren't. We had some stops, some big blocks at the net that they just weren't making. Our offence was going too."

Graham Schmuland (Calgary, AB) had 10 kills to lead the Tigers, will Quinton Dowling (Waterloo, ON), another first year setter, had 26 assists and five digs.

It was the Reds second straight sets win over Dal in as many days.

"I don't think we put a lot of pressure on them," said Tigers head coach Dan Ota. "They got to play the way they wanted to play. Their best players stepped up and played well for them."

Following Friday's loss, the Tigers served notice that things might be different right away, taking the first two points of the match.

Brad Stewart (Wolfville, NS) then brought the Reds back with a kill and a big block to tie the opening set 2-2.

The Reds extended their run, taking a 4-2 lead and pushed it to 8-4 before Ota called time-out to interrupt the momentum. Coming out of that break, UNB proceeded to extend the lead to 11-4.

Down 14-5, Ota called time-out again.

That worked, as the Tigers went on a 3-0 run.

At the technical time-out of the first set, the Reds led 16-8.

The Tigers would fight back, but the Reds lead was too much to overcome and UNB won the opening set 25-21.

The Reds jumped out to a 3-0 lead to start the second set.

The teams then engaged in a back-and-forth battle, with the Reds edging out to a 9-6 lead.

UNB led 16-9 at the technical time-out.

When the Tigers closed the gap to 19-15, Reds head coach Dan McMorran took a time-out.

UNB came back to the court and scored the next three points, taking a 22-15 lead.

An Eduardo Luchese (Bento Goncalves, Brazil) kill ended the second set, giving the Reds a 25-19 win, and a two-sets-to-none lead.

UNB went on a 4-0 run to start the third set, adding to their momentum and forcing the Tigers to call an early time-out.

The Reds held a 16-11 lead at the technical time-out, but Dal closed the gap, drawing even with the Reds 17-17.

A UNB time-out stifled the Tigers momentum.

A McConnell kill ended a long rally to give UNB an 18-17 lead and a Stewart block made it 19-17.

Another McConnell kill made it 24-20, and the Reds completed the straight sets win with a 25-20 third set victory.

"UNB played well enough to really not have too much pressure on them, playing with a lead almost the entire weekend," said Ota.

Both teams now prepare for the first round of the RSEQ playoffs.

The third place Reds will travel to Montreal to face the Carabins in a best-of-three conference semi-final.

That series opens on Friday, February 22nd. Game two is scheduled for Saturday, and game three, if necessary, on Sunday.

By virtue of their fourth place finish, Dal heads to Laval to face the Rouge et Or. That series begins Friday as well.