Women's Volleyball (Canada West Conference Play)
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Brandon, MB - It took the Heat two sets to finally find their legs, and after a decisive third set victory, it seemed like the Heat had finally found their groove. A 19-16 lead for the Heat in the fourth had hopes high for a fifth set, but costly errors in the final five points cost the Heat the set, and ultimately the game 3-1 (25-21, 25-22, 20-25, 25-22).
"We were sluggish from the start; we just couldn't get going," commented Heat head coach Steve Manuel. "Even during the 3rd and 4th sets when we were in complete control, we were still not very sharp. [There were] too many unforced errors and then we played safe, which is how Brandon was playing. We fell into their trap, played their style of game and not ours."
Kaitlyn Given (2nd year, Kelowna, BC) continues to prove her worth to the Heat, leading UBC Okanagan in kills with 13, while adding 3 service aces. This game marked the fourth time in five games Given has lead the Heat in kills. Katy Klomps (3rd year, Surrey, BC) put in another solid defensive game in support of Given's offense - Klomps had 5 block assists and one solo block. She also added 9 kills on the night from her middle position. Brianna Beamish (3rd year, Surrey, BC) would add 8 kills as well, and as a team, the Heat put down a season-high 8 service aces.
Brandon was lead by Shanlee McLennan (3rd year, Winnipeg, MB), who was an effective 14 for 33 from her outside hitter position. Her offensive efforts were supplemented by Victoria Dakin (4th year, Calgary, AB) and Vaovai Alono (1st year, Auckland, NZ), who notched 12 and 13 kills respectively.
"We are still a very talented team, but a young team as well," added Manuel. "These things will happen because of our youth."
Both teams combined for 274 kill attempts on the evening, tallying 137 each.
The Heat struggled to play consistent volleyball at crucial junctures throughout the entirety of the match. They certainly were not outplayed by Brandon; both teams had just over 20 errors over their four set match. The Heat played close in each of the three sets they lost, but costly miscues down the stretch allowed the Bobcats to snatch away set wins.
"The message is simple: keep playing hard," finished Manuel. "We are getting better everyday, so we need to play like a top level CIS team, because we are one."
With the loss, the Heat's early season undefeated streak is over at 4, and they now sit 4-1. Meanwhile, the Bobcats improve to 4-1.
The fifth-ranked Heat and the sixth-ranked Bobcats will meet again tomorrow afternoon in Brandon to complete their weekend series. The first set is scheduled for 3 p.m. (PST) and can be viewed on canadawest.tv