Briercrest men display guts and grit in five-set win over Red Deer
The Briercrest men’s volleyball team squared off against the defending CCAA champion Red Deer Kings in an early season tilt. Briercrest sits in second place behind the Kings in the South Division standings.
With power hitter Taylor Klassen and setter Ludvig Larson out of the starting line up, Briecrest coach Nigel Mullan was forced to do some scrambling. Matt Ginter got the start at setter and took control of the offense immediately, setting up Mitch Erickson, Calvin Sawatzky, and Javier Alvarez for early kills. Three straight service points by Sawatzky knotted the game at 16-16. Red Deer converted on set point to steal a 25-23 win.
In set two, Mitch Erickson’s trio of aces and Ginter’s amazing single-hand set to Javier Alvarez launched Briercrest to a 8-3 lead. Red Deer tightened up their game at the net, but a spectacular left-handed kill by Alvarez and aces by Sawatzky, Ginter, and Bennett Rosewarn pushed the home team ahead, 18-14. The teams traded side outs the rest of the way as Briercrest evened the match with a 25-21 win.
In the early stages of set three, Briercrest relied on aces by Joel Rosewarn and Javier Alvarez, while Red Deer dominated the net attack. The Kings surged ahead, riding the arm of Brian Grenier and the strength of solid team defense. Service and attack errors by Briercrest allowed the visitors to cruise to a 25-17 win.
In the fourth set, Briercrest came out with guns blazing, led by Javier Alvarez’ punishing aerial attacks from both sides. Ginter and Sawatzky combined for a pair of points, forcing a Red Deer time out with Briercrest ahead 10-4. The Kings whittled away at the deficit, but Matt Ginter continued to feed Javier Alvarez on the weak side and Joel Rosewarn in the middle with excellent results. Mitch Erickson provided the necessary punch from the service line and Briercrest dominated the set, 25-10.
The home squad rode the momentum of that penultimate set to jump to an early lead in the final game behind Mitch Erickson’s pinpoint serving and Javier Alvarez’ offensive power at the net. Erickson crushed a back row set from Ginter to give Briercrest a 13-11 lead before Joel Rosewarn thumped a middle attack into the chest of a Red Deer defender. On match point, Calvin Sawatzky pounced on an over bump; Briercrest claimed the set 15-13, and the match 3-2.
Player of the Game for Briercrest was Javier Alvarez, who recorded 20 kills and 20 digs. Matt Ginter’s 40 assists was a game-high, while Calvin Sawatzky notched five aces.
For Red Deer, Regan Fathers earned the POG nod with 13 kills and 15 digs.