Spotting the Preseason No. 1 Alberta Pandas a two set lead in Edmonton led UBC Okanagan to an outstanding five set (25-16, 25-18, 20-25, 26-28, 13-15), come from behind victory.
Women's Volleyball (Canada West conference play)
Saville Sports Centre, Edmonton, AB
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EDMONTON, AB - Facing match point down four in the fourth set the UBC Okanagan Heat women’s volleyball team would win eight of the next 10 points and then capture the fifth set to comeback on the host Alberta Pandas in a 3-2 decision (25-16, 25-18, 20-25, 26-28, 13-15), on Friday night at the Saville Centre in Edmonton, AB.
With the game on the line in the exciting fourth set third year outside hitter Megan Festival (Calgary, AB) had a kill to make it 21-24, a kill to knot the game at 24 and a kill to finally give UBC Okanagan the lead at 27-26 before the set was won on a bomb by Brianna Beamish (4th, outside hitter, Surrey, BC) 28-26.
Beamish had a huge game for the Heat finishing with a game high 21 kills, 13 digs, and 2 blocks. Megan Festival led the team in digs (24) and was second in kills with 12. Middle Katy Klomps (4th, Surrey, BC) was very effective in scoring points with 10 kills at a 44.4% rate, and in the block with 3.
Katie Wuttunee (4th, middle, N. Vancouver, BC), who closed out the final point with a block, led the team in blocks (6) and added eight of her own kills. Emily Oxland (3rd, setter, N. Vancouver, BC) and Festival both had two of the seven UBC Okanagan’s service aces, yet it was Alberta’s Jessica Stroud with (4) aces to lead the match as Alberta out served the Heat 11-7.
After spotting Alberta, ranked No.1 in Canada West in a preseason coaches poll, to a big lead by dropping the first two by set scores of 25-16 and 25-18, the comeback would begin for UBC Okanagan in the third set.
Emily Oxland, starting at setter in the third set, opened the frame off with an ace and the Heat started rolling from there. Jumping ahead of the Pandas 10-5, the Heat would never allow the home team within less than three the rest of the way as UBC Okanagan took the third 25-20 to make it a 2-1 match.
The fourth set was a see-saw affair, but as it progressed it seemed like Alberta, which earned an 11-2 preseason record, was going to come out on top. However, as the opportunity to win the match loomed nearer, the home side began to falter and UBC Okanagan and Megan Festival took full advantage of the opening.
In the fifth set UBC Okanagan continued to ride the momentum wave, as they went from down 2-0, on the road, to 3-2 winners thanks to a tight 15-13 final set victory.
Powering the Pandas attack was third-year outside hitter Meg Casault with a team high 18 kills, while Josephine Doerfler recorded 10 kills in her CIS regular season debut. The German-born Doerfler also recorded three aces and 11 digs.
This was UBC Okanagan’s first win in Alberta in conference play, in any sport, since joining Canada West in 2011.
UBC Okanagan will try and spoil Alberta’s home opening weekend with another win tomorrow as the rematch is once again at the Saville Centre in Edmonton, this time at 4 p.m. (PDT)
HEAT NOTES: Sophia Furlan from Calgary, AB, the only player on the squad that is a 2014 graduate of high school saw her first Canada West conference action on Friday night