By Mark Moffat
In the third and deciding game of the Subway AUS Men's Volleyball Championship final at the Dalplex, the UNB Varsity Reds defeated the Dalhousie Tigers three sets to one to win their ninth conference championship. This is their third title in a row and fourth in six seasons.
In the first set, UNB took the early advantage, gaining a 7-4 lead in front of a loud, boisterous crowd with fans from both teams cheering on. This momentum continued, as the Varsity Reds built a 19-11 lead late in the set. The Tigers attempted a late comeback, getting it to 23-20 in the dying moments. But, the Varsity Reds were able to take care of things in the first set, winning it, 25-22.
The second set saw UNB get out to a quick start once again, leading 8-5. However, Dalhousie was able to swing the momentum back in their favour after this, getting out to a 17-13 lead. The Varsity Reds weren't going away, with the Tigers taking a 23-19 lead into the late stages of this set. However, they were able to keep control and win the set, 25-20.
UNB scored the first four points on the way to an early 5-1 lead in the third set. But, the Tigers were not going to take that without a response, tying up the set, 9-9. The Varsity Reds were able to take the momentum back, eventually leading 23-20 late. Despite a late Dalhousie rally, UNB got the win in the third set, 25-22.
With the fourth set beckoning, it was a very even start as both teams were tied 8-8 early. The Varsity Reds took an 11-9 lead, but the set quickly ended up back in a tie, 13-13. UNB was able to take over from here, taking a 21-16 lead and winning the fourth set, 25-18, to win the Subway AUS Championship title winning the best of three game series 2-1.
The Varsity Reds were led by Subway Player of the Game Connor McConnell (Hanwell, NB), who had 15 kills and six digs. Pascal McCarthy (Fredericton, N.B.) contributed eight kills, seven digs, and three blocks for UNB.
Matthew Donovan (London, Ont.) powered the Tigers with a game leading 16 kills, along with 10 digs and six blocks. Jeffrey Walton (Sudbury, Ont.) chipped in eight kills, three digs, and one block for Dalhousie.
UNB setter Kent Doucette (Tignish, PE) was named the championship MVP.
The Varsity Reds advance to the U SPORTS men's volleyball championship, March 16-18 at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont.