December 29th, 2010
Tait McKenzie Gym, Toronto
York Excalibur Tournament Semi Finals
UNB Varsity Reds vs. Windsor Lancers
The York Excalibur Tournament reached its elimination stages on Wednesday night, as the Windsor Lancers, fresh off their win over Budo, met the streaking Varsity Reds team from New Brunswick. Windsor was tired, having played 5 sets just a couple hours prior. The UNB squad hadn’t dropped a set in the entire tournament up until the semi finals. The favourite was obvious, but volleyball isn’t deciding on the betting line.
The game started out as expected, as UNB made their presence known with strong middle blocking, and Windsor came out tired with a few unforced errors. UNB’s early lead reached 7-4 when the Lancers missed a serve. 14 John Sheehan of the Varsity Reds made his presence felt early, with a huge roof followed by an unstopped quick on the very next point, pushing the UNB lead to 14-7. The Lancers made an effort to make a side out, but gave the ball back right away on another missed serve. In this situation, as a tired underdog, missed serves will destroy any hope a team has.
Coming out of a Windsor timeout, the UNB squad missed a serve of their own. The Lancers picked up some momentum with a fluid quick, followed by a less ideal hit that managed to win a point off the UNB block. The scored was pulled to 16-11 for UNB. From that point, the favourites stopped giving any easy points. Solid serving and hitting through the block from 5 Julio Fernandez, coupled with a sneaky dump from the setter, and an emphatic roof from 15 Jacob Kilpatrick ended the set on a 9-4 run, as UNB decisively won the first set 25-15.
The second set opened up more competitive, as Windsor Head Coach Huub Kemmere must have said something between sets. The set started exactly how it ended, with Kilpatrick from UNB roofing the Windsor squad. From there it went back and forth, with Lancers’ 6 Ryan Le putting away a crosscourt kill. The Reds responded with 10 Tyler Veenhuis from backcourt, who really made his presence felt in the second set. He managed another kill, a kill off a block, and a dig that led right back to another kill for the player in his final year. With his contribution, the score moved from 6-5, to an 11-6 lead for the UNB squad. Windsor pushed back with high energy, and kept an incredibly amount of balls off the floor with great digging. The problem was Kilpatrick and Fernandez began to steal the show. Kilpatrick put down two hard quicks in succession, while maintaining a blocking presence at middle. Fernandez put down three decisive kills in the middle of the set, and UNB led 16-11 at a Windsor timeout. Windsor middle 13 Josh Edwards did what he could to bring his team back with two kills and a block late, but the damage was done. Kilpatrick finished off the game with a momentum busting roof, followed by a heavy quick to put away the 25th point. UNB won the second set 25-17, one set away from the finals.
Right at the very beginning of the third set, Windsor’s libero earned himself a yellow card for complaining over a called lift. UNB had no qualms with taking the momentum from there, as Kilpatrick even got into the setting mood with a backset to his teammate for a kill. UNB took the early lead at 7-2. Windsor, looking out of sorts, put an ugly tip attempt right into the net at this point. Luckily, UNB relented and missed their serve to give Windsor another chance at life. Le put away another hard spike, and the Lancers tried to claw back into the game at 11-4. Another UNB missed serve gave the Lancers even more momentum, as the game pulled as tight as 14-8. At that point, things began to fall apart. UNB put together a 8-1 run including huge kills, followed by an emphatic sequence of back to back roofs. With the score 22-9, the Lancers were all but finished. The set ended on a float serve for an ace, followed by a serve receive overpass that ended in a lightly blocked ball from UNB. The Varsity Reds won the final set 25-12, taking the match in straight sets.
The UNB Varsity Reds move on to face the winner of the Western Mustangs and York Lions in the other semi final. They still have yet to lose a single set in the tournament.
The Windsor Lancers play on Thursday afternoon for the Bronze Medal against the loser of the opposite semi final.