Women’s Volleyball (Canada West conference play)
UBC’s Okanagan campus gymnasium, Kelowna, BC
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KELOWNA, BC – Facing the hottest team in the conference, the UBC Okanagan Heat women’s volleyball team were unable to slow the Cougar charge, as Regina earned the 3-1 (27-25, 21-25, 25-21, 25-22) victory Friday night.
“We just weren’t ready to play,” said Heat head coach Steve Manuel after the game “We were a step behind them in every step of the game.”
The Heat’s loss, coupled with an Alberta Panda’s 3-2 victory over the UBC Thunderbirds Friday evening, sees UBC Okanagan fall out of the fifth seed into the sixth seed, as Alberta owns the sets won/sets lost tiebreaker over the Heat.
Megan Festival (2nd year, Calgary, AB) had 20 kills – a career high in kills for the young outside hitter – and 10 digs for the Heat, while Kaitlynn Given (2nd year, Kelowna, BC) had 10 kills and 8 digs.
For Regina, Michelle Sweeting and Desiree Ates played the catalysts, combining for 39 kills. Defensively, Sweeting had 5.5 blocks and Ates had 16 digs. As a team, Regina was able to both out-block the Heat (14-12) and out-attack the Heat (58 .221) kills-48 .146).
“Regina came in very well prepared and they executed their game plan very well,” added Manuel. “They played outstanding volleyball.”
The win is the Cougars’ eighth in their last nine games, and Regina moves above .500 for the first time all season at 11-10. The Heat, meanwhile, drop to 12-9, and will need a victory Saturday evening and have Alberta lose to UBC if they hope to recapture the fifth seed.
Saturday’s match versus Regina will mark the final home game in the careers of Jillian Festival (5th year, Calgary, AB), Lenai Schmidt (5th year, Vernon, BC) and Kendra Wayling (5th year, Castlegar, BC), as all three will graduate from UBC Okanagan and from the Heat program they helped launch into the CIS. The Heat will honour their three graduating players in a ceremony following the game.
The Heat will look to secure the fifth seed and send their seniors off on a winning note in the Heat’s final home game of the season, with the first serve between UBC Okanagan and Regina scheduled for 5 pm.