(FREDERICTON, NB) In their Atlantic University Sport home opener, the UNB Varsity Reds battled all the way back in a tightly contested five-set thriller to beat the Dalhousie Tigers, in Fredericton on Saturday night.
After losing the first two sets, the V-Reds used the backing of the home crowd to beat the Tigers 3-2, with scores of 19-25, 21-25, 25-23, 25-21, and 15-13.
Tigers' fifth year outside hitter Matthew Donovan (London, ON) had a stellar of a game with 20 kills and 16 digs. Ryan Colpitts (Fredericton, NB) led the way for Varsity Reds with 12 kills and 12 digs.
Donovan was named Subway Player of the Game for the Dalhousie Tigers, while fourth year middle blocker Herbert Compagner (Island View, NB) earned the honour for the Varsity Reds.
For the Varsity Reds, this was their only home date of the first semester.
Colpitts, happy to be back on home court, thanked the boisterous crowd who encouraged the comeback.
"We had a great turn out tonight, it's nice to see a lot of fans out at the game," said Colpitts. "We had a really bad start, then in the third set we really caught some momentum and found a way to get it done."
For Donovan and the Tigers, this was not the way to end the first semester. "A disappointing loss for us, a lot of errors at the service line and attacking," he said. Crediting the Varsity Reds for some clutch plays in the fifth set, he said "UNB did a good job blocking tonight, they slammed us multiple times down the stretch. That was the difference."
UNB and Dalhousie play each other three more times this regular season, and Donovan knows that those games won't be easy for his Tigers, "we have a good rivalry with UNB, it's going to be the same [type of game] down the stretch. It's always fun playing against them."
The Varsity Reds and Tigers do not resume AUS regular season league play until January 12, 2018 when UNB hosts the AUS/RSEQ Interlock Tournament.
RECAP BY: Kristian D'Amore/for UNB Athletics
PHOTOS BY: Kyle Lamkin/for UNB Athletics