For at least the eighth year in a row – it could be more but the Atlantic University Sport archives only go back so far – the V-Reds men’s volleyball team will be taking on the Dalhousie Tigers in the AUS championships.
The V-Reds could have clinched home court advantage last weekend with a sweep of their two-game homestand against the visiting Tigers, but lost a five-set heartbreaker (25-23, 17-25, 25-18, 16-25 and 12-15) Friday before 955 fans at the Currie Center.
Game 1 of the best-of-three series is this Friday in Dalhousie, before the series shifts back to the Currie Center for Game 2 on Feb. 15, but head coach Dan McMorran said not having home court advantage isn’t a huge loss.
“It really doesn’t matter to me where the first game of the AUS playoffs are. We have to play one down [at Dalhousie] and one down here and that stuff is just logistics at this stage. So we’re fine with that,” McMorran said. “We know we have to go down there and play in Dalhousie whether its game one or game two.”
Julio Fernandez returned to the V-Reds lineup Saturday night after missing two games with an ankle injury. He hammered home 14 kills, but he wasn’t playing at 100 per cent and committed a season-worst 13 errors. McMorran said while his injury is no longer a factor after he fired back with a game-high 10 kills in Sunday’s straight set win (25-18, 25-21 and 25-16), mobility was an issue in Saturday’s loss.
Logan Keoughan hasd a big game for UNB on Sunday with seven kills, and was stellar in the third set with three blocks, an ace and three kills including one on match point. He said sweeping Dalhousie could build a bit of momentum going into the finals.
“We want to show them what we can do in our gym … we want to set the tone,” Keoughan said. “We know who they are. It’s momentum building for us and even more so, it’s just we know what happens when we stick to our game plan as opposed to letting them play the game they want to play.”