The UNB Saint John men’s volleyball team saw their championship dreams come to an end as they were beaten by the Holland College Hurricanes in three sets on Sunday at the Dalhousie Agricultural Campus in Truro, NB.
The gold medal game, which was played out in front of a full crowd of both Hurricane and Seawolves fans alike, was the final collegiate level game for several UNB Saint John players.
Blair Doull, Nick Fraser, Samuel Irvine, Devin O’Brien, Matt Smith, Mike Whitcomb, and Chad White all played in their final game in a Seawolves jersey.
The first set started with the Wolves taking an early 5-1 lead before the Hurricanes called a timeout.
Holland College found themselves unable to respond until Kenton Dawkings, ACAA 1st Team Allstar and CCAA All Canadian was able to get past the Seawolves defense with a well placed kill.
The points for the Wolves continued to climb as Luke O’Grady and Zane Hamilton kept notching kill after kill.
A few service errors from the Wolves brought Holland within a point, but a huge block from Herbert Compagner and Peter Banks pushed them back up to a two point lead.
Both teams continued to trade points back and forth, alternating between soft tips and slams over the net.
Holland College players Jeff MacDonald and Tynan Murphy combined for a few powerful double blocks that kept stopping the Wolves offense and putting Holland ahead, until O’Grady began to softly tip it over.
This, followed by a powerful kill from Hamilton allowed the Wolves to tie it up at 13-13.
Every kill the Wolves made, the Hurricanes were able to respond with kills of their own, finally tying it at 18-18.
The Seawolves started to grow their newfound lead with a massive double block from Compagner and Nick Fraser, but Holland quickly responded with a points of their own.
UNB Saint John called a timeout, but the Hurricanes slowly climbed their way back up. A blocking error put the Hurricanes at match point, and the Wolves found themselves unable to keep up, and the first set ended with a score of 25-23 for Holland.
“UNB [Saint John] is a strong team, but unfortunately for them the first set got away from them and we kind of rode our momentum to really go after the match,” said Hurricanes head coach, and ACAA Coach of the Year, Joe Ryan post-game.
“We knew they weren’t going to just roll over, but we just got fortunate on a couple of plays.
The second set started with a big kill from Gordon Veitch from the Hurricanes, but O’Grady was able to strike a fierce counter hit.
Holland continued to beat down The Wolves’s defense, and they were able to take a 10-5 lead before the Wolves called a timeout.
The timeout did not help, as the Hurricanes continued to land kill after kill.
A service ace from number Tynan Murphy allowed the Hurricanes to hit the 15 point mark, and the Seawolves took another timeout to regroup.
Points continued to fall for Holland, and it wasn’t until two errors on Holland’s part that the Wolves were able to break double digits.
This, followed by and a massive block from Compagner, brought the Wolves back within 6.
A missed serve from O’Grady had Holland break the 20 point mark, and they didn’t look back. The second set ended with a score of 25-16.
The third set started out strong in favour of the Wolves, with Holland making some key erorrs that allowed the Wolves to take a 4-2 lead.
Both teams continued to be plagued with service errors, and traded points back and forth throughout the set.
O’Grady began to hit his rhythm and gave the Wolves a sufficient lead, which was aided by kills from Hamilton and Peter Banks.
Service errors continued to be an issue for the Wolves, as did the Hurricanes’ Dawkings who kept firing balls past the defense.
After a long rally, Holland finally took the lead, and followed by an attack error from Hamilton, they never looked back.
The third set ended with a score of 25-23 for Holland taking the match in three straight sets.
The Seawolves were awarded the Silver medal following the match and Patrick Kendall of the Seawolves was named Player of the Game for the Seawolves while the Brett Butler was selected for the Hurricanes.
The Holland College Hurricanes will travel to London Ontario in two weeks to participate in the CCAA National Championship hosted at Fanshawe College.
All games can be streamed online on the CCAA website.