The nationally number one ranked UBC Okanagan Heat women’s volleyball team came oh so close to advancing to a third straight National Championship final. The Heat’s nemesis of the last few seasons, the Vancouver Island University Mariners, came all the way back from a 2 set to 0 deficit and being only a handful of points away from losing in the 3rd set, to knocking the defending champs out in a thrilling 5 set match (17-25, 17-25, 26-24, 25-20, 15-11). Myrte Schön was named the Heat’s player of the match.
The best the Heat can place is the Bronze medal, to win the bronze the Heat will have to win twice on Saturday. The Heat will play Humber College Saturday at 8:00am (PST). If they win that game they will move on to the bronze medal match Saturday at 1:00pm (PST) against the winner of the FX Garneau Grand Prairie matchup.
Recap from the tournament: http://j.mp/fz1WIb below.
The last match of this second day of play pits both British Columbia teams against each other. The VIU Mariners, ranked 4th, will try to avenge their loss to the UBCO Heat, ranked first, which occurred at the BCAA championships a few weeks ago.
Akin to what we saw in the previous match, the two teams trade points early, but a few communication errors on the part of the Mariners gave the Heat an 11-7 lead. Two powerful hits from Alex Basso from the pipe increased that lead to 17-12, and Mariners head coach Shane Hynde chose to use his first timeout at this point to stop the Heat’s momentum from gaining steam. VIU had a lot of difficulty controlling the powerful Heat attacks, and lost the first set 25-17. The Heat leads the best-of-five match 1-0.
The beginning of the second set unfolds exactly like the first, with both teams not giving any manoeuvre room to the other side. Caitlin Nyhus and Dani Smith continue to dish out perfect sets to their teammates, which the Heat is converting at a higher percentage than the Mariners at this point. VIU’s errors at the net are proving costly in the late stages of this set, and the Heat had no trouble closing out the set in convincing fashion, 25-17. The Heat now leads the match 2-0.
The Mariners, who must absolutely win this third set to prolong the match, roar to a 4-1 lead right off the bat. Lead by the inspiring play of Alex Basso and Kaylan Gouldsboroug at the net, the Heat come back and now leads the set 11-9. Myrte Schon contributes to her team’s kill total, as the Mariner block is simply not present in this match tonight.
The score is now 18-15 for the Heat. When everyone assumed they were down for the count, the Mariners put together an incredible comeback and finally won the third set 26-24. The Heat now leads the match 2-1.
It is a different VIU team that takes the court in the fourth set. As with the previous set, the Mariners must win to take the match, and their defensive skills, displayed so prominently yesterday against Grande Prairie, made their triumphant return. Coach Steve Manual is forced into taking his second timeout very early in this fourth set to stop the Mariners, who have carved themselves a nice 13-7 lead.
A rotation error on the part of the Mariners, the first one of the tournament, gave the ball to the Heat, who immediately gave it back on a missed serve by Nyhus. The Mariners continue to play strongly, forcing the Heat into making uncharacteristic errors. With VIU leading 22-20, Kaitie Whiteley hits a mean ball deep into Heat territory, increasing the team’s lead. The Mariners go on to take the fourth set 25-20, setting up the second fifth-and-deciding set of the day.
With a striking look of determination of their faces, VIU players start the match strong and jump to a 4-2 lead in the deciding set. The Heat bloc is being overpowered by the quickness and variety of VIU’s offensive game plan. With the score at 12-8, VIU simply needs to keep siding out to get the victory. This is exactly what happens, and the Mariners win the match on a massive bloc at the end to win the set 15-11.
VIU now moves on to the gold medal match, where they will face Mount Royal. The Heat plays tomorrow morning against Humber to determine which team moves on to the bronze medal match.
Player of the game for the Mariners is Cheyla Reader, with 11 kills and 6 digs and 9 blocks. For the Heat, that honour goes to Myrte Schon, author of 23 kills, 4 digs and 1 block.
Full tournament Schedule:
1. University of British Columbia-Okanagan
3. Mount Royal University
4. Vancouver Island University
5. Grande Prairie Regional College
6. Humber College
7. Mount Allison University
8. University of New Brunswick-Saint John
Thursday March 10
Game #1 1pm – FXG vs Mount Allison
Game # 2 3pm – Mount Royal vs Humber
Game # 3 6pm – UBCO vs UNB-SJ
Game # 4 8pm – VIU vs GPRC
Friday March 11
Game # 5 1pm – Mt. Allison vs Humber
Game # 6 3pm – UNB-SJ vs GPRC
Game # 7 6pm – FXG vs Mount Royal (semi-final)
Game # 8 8pm – Heat vs VIU (semi-final)
Saturday March 12
Game # 9 10am – FXG vs GPRC
Game # 10 12pm – Heat vs Humber
Game # 11 2pm – Mt. Allison vs UNB-SJ (7th/8th place)
Game # 12 5pm – Winners of game 9 & 10 (Bronze Medal)
Game # 13 7pm – Mount Royal vs VIU 8 (Gold Medal)