Game recap by Kirk Jessome
(Halifax, NS) – In the home opener for the Dalhousie Tigers men's volleyball team, they played host to the Laval Rouge et Or on Friday night. After the Tigers took the first set, the Rouge et Or won 3-straight to take the match 3-1.
It was an error-filled start to the match, with the serve of Philippe Giroux (Quebec, QC) giving the Tigers trouble on the reception to get out to an 8-3 lead.
With the Tigers hitters struggling to find their mark, the Rouge et Or used those errors to take a 16-11 lead into the technical break.
Coming out of the timeout the Tigers were able to get some momentum rolling with a big swing from Andrew Arseneau (Dartmouth, NS) and a combo block from Jasper Kristmanson (Fredericton, NB) and Graham Schmuland (Calgary, AB) on back to back possessions.
Battling back in the set, the Tigers were able to tie it up at 21-21 with another big block from Schmuland and Evan West (Ilderton, ON), but Giroux and Jean-Benoit Gagne (Quebec, QC) were able to pull the Rouge et Or ahead with a few hard swings.
The set required extra points as the teams traded kills, but the Tigers were eventually able to take the first set by a score of 29-27 on a tip attack from Schmuland take the Rouge et Or by surprise and forcing an error.
The Rouge et Or once again jumped out to an early lead with Alexandre Obomsawin (Quebec, QC) leading the attack with kills and from the service line. The Tigers hitters had a hard time solving the blocking presence of the Rouge et Or, and as a result, found themselves trailing 16-8 at the technical break.
With a few hard swings from Xavier Leblanc-Martin (Fredericton, NB) and back to back aces from Obomsawin, the Rouge et Or quickly put the second set out of reach, taking the victory by a score of 25-13.
The third set started with a string of great rallies, with Remi Cadoret (Gatineau, QC) stretching out to make a few tough digs, but the Tigers ended up taking the point in the fantastic rally on another kill from Schmuland.
Schmuland was heating up offensively, but service errors were costing the Tigers, and a massive kill from Gagne gave the Rouge et Or a 16-11 lead at the break.
The Rouge et Or picked up some big kills off the hands of Giroux and Hugo Henderson (Brossard, QC) to pull ahead to a big lead, but the Tigers refused to go away in the set, with Evan West and Ethan Boyd (Summerside, PEI) picking up kills to bring their team back in it.
Just as the momentum was swinging in the Tigers favor, a service error stopped it cold, and a big kill from Obomsawin allowed the Rouge et Or to take a 2-1 lead over the Tigers, taking the third set 25-21.
The Rouge et Or were firing on all cylinders to start the fourth set, with Obomsawin leading the attack with kills while Henderson was strong defensively with two early blocks to push their team ahead 13-4.
With kills from West and Alec Cottreau (Yarmouth, NS), the Tigers fought to get back into the set, but another kill from Obomsawin sent the teams into the technical break with the Rouge et Or leading 16-9.
Perfectly describing how the set was going for the Tigers, Leblanc-Martin stopped a Tigers attack with his face, with the ball going back over for a kill. The Tigers were able to string together a few points on kills from Bruce Aku (Winnipeg, MB) and errors from their opponent, but the Rouge et Or came away with a 25-14 win on another big swing from Giroux to close out the match.
Graham Schmuland led the Tigers attack with a game-high 21 kills, while Alexandre Obomsawin finished with 12 kills, 4 aces and 4 blocks to lead the attack for the Rouge et Or. Remi Cadoret was named the Subway Player of the Game with an impressive defensive performance in the win for the Rouge et Or.
The two teams will meet again tomorrow in the second match of a back-to-back starting at 3:00pm.