Halloween matchup between sister-schools go way of the Vancouver squad 3-1. Teams to play each other again Saturday at 5 p.m.
Women’s Volleyball (Canada West conference play)
VANCOUVER, BC – A clash between campuses on Halloween night would end favourably for the host UBC Thunderbirds in Vancouver as the visiting UBC Okanagan Heat women’s volleyball team ultimately fall in a 3-1 thriller (27-25, 25-18, 18-25, 25-19) at the War Memorial Gymnasium this evening.
For the first time in their mutual tenure in Canada West, the UBC Okanagan Heat came into a weekend standoff with the UBC Thunderbirds as the favourites, ahead in both the conference and national rankings. Although the Thunderbirds had tripped up early in the season they were still the defending Canada West champions and winner of six of the past seven national championships, tonight they showed that they still had teeth as they ground out a hard-earned victory to open the weekend.
UBC Okanagan has still yet to defeat their sister school and with today’s loss and the win for UBC both teams have a 4-3 conference record, and the campus rivals will be back at each other again tomorrow at 5 p.m. in the War Memorial Gymnasium.
The Heat were down 14-10, in the first set, and spent the rest of the set trying to catch up, finally levelling the score at 23-23 on kills by Breanna Beamish and Michelle Jakszuk. Battling back from this challenge, the T-Birds still managed to hang on, trading points with the Heat right up until the end, when timely kills by Lisa Barclay and Juliana Kaufmanis clinched the set for the 27-25.
Brianna Beamish, Megan Festival, and Katie Wuttunee all led the Heat with 10 kills on the night, yet Wuttunee was extremely efficient converting 46.7-percent of her chances, with Festival (.179) and Beamis (.074) held mostly in check in the four sets.
Beamish and Jakszuk again got consecutive kills to give the visitors 7-3 lead to open the second set but UBC replied by winning 12 of the next 16 points to turn things around and win the second 25-18.
The third set saw the visiting team go up to 13-6, thanks in part to two Chandler Proch service aces. UBC Okanagan were to see that lead evaporate as a first-class service run by Kaufmanis, who was already leading the team in points. Thanks to a kill, three aces in a row and the support of her teammates, Kaufmanis helped the T-Birds win eight straight points to take the lead 14-13.
After a timeout by UBC Okanagan following this remarkable run, however, the Heat regained their composure and managed to capture the set 25-18. Emily Oxland was subbed on for the Heat and they won four points in a row in the critical last moments of the set, pushing UBC Okanagan ahead 23-16. The set was clinched with an ace by third-year student Megan Festival.
Despite the UBC Okanagan performance in the third set, the T-Birds were able to put the Kelowna squad away for the victory in the fourth as the Thunderbird offense proved the better over the Heat’s traditionally formidable defense as the Vancouver squad walked away with the win.
Offensively, Kaufmanis led the Thunderbirds with 15 kills on the evening, followed closely by Barclay with 14. Keeping was the defensive powerhouse for UBC, coming up with one solo block and six block assists for her team tonight.
Watch the action of tomorrow’s rematch (5 p.m.) from home and stream live stats at canadawest.tv
~ With notes from Jacqueline MacDiarmid (UBC Sports Information Assistant)