(FREDERICTON, NB) The UNB Varsity Reds had Laval right where they wanted them… but let the Rouge et Or get away.
The Varsity Reds scored hard-fought 29-27 and 27-25 wins to take the first two sets from the CIS's No. 7 ranked team.
But that's when complacency set in. "We got, probably got comfortable, they made some big plays, that kind of made us quiet on the court," said UNB's Eivind Anderson.
The Norwegian has 17 kills and five digs in the Varsity Reds loss. "It's not like we gave up after the first two sets, we definitely tried to fight back, but they played better than us in the last couple of sets and unfortunately, that resulted in a loss."
The first set saw Laval build three point leads twice. Both times, UNB was able to fight back.
With both teams trading points, a service error by Laval's Frederic Bolduc gave the Varsity Reds a 28-27 edge. Elliott Allison then blocked Hugo Leger's attack to give UNB the 29-27 win.
The second set was much the same, both teams fighting almost point for point. The teams were tied at 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15.
Tied at 25, Pascal McCarthy's kill gave UNB an edge. An Anderson block sealed the 27-25 win and the 2-0 lead.
The VReds scored the first point of the third set, but the Rouge et Or quickly erased that deficit. Laval led 16-8 at the technical time-out and never looked back, on route to a 25-16 set win.
"The third set was kind of the Achilles that we're talking about," said Varsity Reds head coach Dan McMorran. "The lack of focus. Our team is not able, right now, to maintain focus for long periods of time."
There wasn't much in the third set that McMorran liked. "We started the third set like we had a 2-0 cushion and it was okay to make some unforced errors and with a team like Laval, you're going to pay."
Laval opened the scoring in the fourth set and never trailed. The Varsity Reds pulled to within two points, twice, but the visitors wasted little time. The Quebec side needed just 21 minutes to tie the match with another 25-16 victory.
The fifth and deciding set saw the Rouge et Or race out to a 5-0 lead. UNB scored, but could never catch Laval, falling 15-10.
Eivind Anderson and Laval's Olivier Jannini were named Subway players of the game.
"We're disappointed, definitely," said McMorran. "We played a great team tonight."
And great teams find ways to win.
McMorran hopes his squad learned a lesson in the loss.
In other interlock action Friday, Sherbrooke swept Memorial 3-0.
The Vert et Or dominated the Sea Hawks 25-15, 25-19 and 25-21.
Sherbrooke's Daniel Morneau and Memorial's Kevin Delahunt were named the Subway players of the game.
And the Montreal Carabins needed four sets to beat the Dalhousie Tigers.
The Carabins won 25-23, 28-26, 20-25 and 25-19 to beat the top team in Atlantic University Sport.
Montreal's Chancy Gabriel and Dalhousie's Kristen O'Brien were named the Subway players of the game.
All six teams have short turnarounds.
The interlock event between AUS and RSEQ schools continues Saturday, at the Currie Center and Lady Beaverbrook Gym.
Games go at 11:00AM, 1:00PM, 6:00PM and 8:00PM.