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Tigers drop 3-2 thriller to Laval

Photo by Trevor MacMillan
Photo by Trevor MacMillan

Game recap by Kirk Jessome

(Halifax, NS) – As the second installment of the double-header, the Dalhousie Tigers once again played host to the Laval Rouge et Or. In a match that came down to the wire, the Rouge et Or were able to come away with a 3-2 win.

Evan West (Ilderton, ON) was all over the court for the Tigers early, sending home two kills and stepping up for a big block to get the Tigers started in the set.

The Rouge et Or hitters were swinging well early in the set, with Xavier Leblanc-Martin (Fredericton, NB) found his groove offensively, with Alexandre Obomsawin (Quebec, QC) providing some fine serving, but the Tigers were able to take a 16-14 lead into the technical break.

The Tigers hitters were rolling coming out of the timeout, with Graham Schmuland (Calgary, AB) sending home five kills and an ace in the back half of the set to give the Tigers the first-set win by a score of 25-21.

Coming out with a new energy in the second set, Obomsawin found back to back aces, with Leblanc-Martin and Philippe Giroux (Quebec, QC) helping out with kills to jump out to a quick 13-3 lead.

The Rouge et Or carried that momentum through the technical break with the blocking presence of Hugo Henderson (Brossard, QC) continuing to play a key role in their lead.

As the Rouge et Or continued to pull away, Ludovic Martin (Quebec, QC) dropped in a service ace to finish out the 25-11 win in the set to tie the match at 1-1.

The service game of the Tigers was giving Laval trouble early in the second set, with some tough receptions causing difficult sets and hitting errors. The Tigers were able to capitalize on the errors and free balls to get out to a 10-5 lead and force a timeout from Laval.

The Rouge et Or were able to regroup off the back of kills from Henderson and Leblanc-Martin, but the Tigers were able to hold a 16-14 lead at the technical break.

On a bump-set that made its way over the net, the Rouge et Or were set up for a big swing, but Tigers setter Quinton Dowling (Waterloo, ON) got up for a great solo block to give the Tigers a 21-19 lead in a tight set.

That play sparked the Tigers hitters late in the set, with Schmuland and Alec Cottreau (Yarmouth, NS) hammering home kills to close out the set at 25-21 to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead.

After trading points in the opening plays of the fourth set, the Rouge et Or hitters came alive with Ludovic Martin doing a great job to find four different hitters for kills in as many plays to give his team a 16-11 lead at the break.

Obomsawin hammered home two kills out of the timeout, followed by back to back aces from Olivier Caron (Lévis, QC) to give the Rouge et Or a commanding 22-14 lead in the set. As Obomsawin dropped in another service ace and another kill on the next play, the Rouge et Or forced a fifth set with a 25-16 win.

The blocking presence was key for both sides early in the final set, with Obomsawin and Henderson getting in on two blocks for Laval, while Jasper Kristmanson (Fredericton, NB) and Dowling responded with one of their own. A swing from Obomsawin just grazed the finger-tips of a Tigers blocker before going out to give the Rouge et Or an 8-7 lead at the side-change.

The Rouge et Or were able to pick up points off of tough serves from Caron, and with a net violation from the Tigers, they were able to close out the final set 15-12 to take a 3-2 win.

Graham Schmuland led the Tigers attack once again, finishing with 15 kills and 3 aces, while Alexandre Obomsawin earned himself the Subway Player of the Game title with a game-high 21 kills, 3 aces, and 4 blocks in the win.

The Tigers will be back on the court on November 29th for a two-game set against Sherbrooke at home. Laval will continue their road trip as they take on Montreal next Friday.