CComing back to win a fourth set and pushing the home Thunderbirds down 8-3 in the fifth wasn’t enough as the Heat fall in 5 sets to the UBC dynasty in Vancouver Saturday night.
Women’s Volleyball (Canada West conference play)
VANCOUVER, BC– The No. 3 UBC Okanagan Heat appeared to be on their way to splitting their third series of the season up 8-3 in the fifth set on the UBC Thunderbirds women’s volleyball team only to have victory snatched away as UBC scored 12 or the next 15 points to take the match in five exciting sets at War Memorial Gym in Vancouver on Saturday.
Set scores: 25-23, 23-25, 25-15, 20-25 and 15-11
The early lead in the fifth set was built on the strength of UBC Okanagan’s front line as Erin Drew, making her first career CIS start, was instrumental in pushing her team ahead early, as she provided a solo block, a service ace and a kill as part of the 8-3 run. Katie Wuttunee, the other starting middle, also had two blocks early in the fifth set.
UBC Okanagan finished with 15 blocks a third of those in the fifth set, compared to 11 for UBC. Wuttunee finished the match with three blocks, Drew with six, Katy Klomps who currently is fourth in the conference in blocks (37) did not dress due on Saturday night.
Offensively Brianna Beamish is continuing a strong fourth year, the outside hitter from Surrey, BC had one of her best performances on the year. Her 18 kills was a game high and her .302 conversion rate was her high mark of the year to date. Megan Festival had 11 kills and 10 digs, while Katie Wuttunee finished with 10 kills.
UBC Okanagan extended the match by winning a dramatic fourth set. With a score tied 17-17, the Heat managed to capture eight of the next 12 points in order to take the match into a fifth-and-deciding set, led by their offensive powerhouse Beamish. The Heat won four straight points on her serve and then Megan Festival provided a big kill to put the Heat up 22-18 and then knocked down another to clinch the set for the visitors.
The third set was forgettable for UBC Okanagan as they managed just six kills and committed six attack errors to fall 25-15.
Sets one and two were mirrors of one another, in the first set UBC powered through the early parts of the opening set, taking a 16-7 lead when Beamish led the Heat comeback striking five kills to bring her team to within one point at 22-23, but the T-Birds got their final two points on service errors.
The tables turned in the second set, however, as the Heat came out blazing to even things up. UBC Okanagan pulled ahead to a 17-10 lead before T-Birds proceeded to win eight of the next nine points to tie the teams at 18 apiece. Lisa Barclay put UBC ahead 23-22 but the Heat won the final three points, on kills from Festival and Katie Wuttunee and a UBC service error, to win the second set.
Despite being injured early in the fifth set, Barclay led her team with 15 kills, one block and one ace. Danielle Brisebois had 12 kills for the ‘Birds.
With the loss UBC Okanagan have been swept for the first time this year and see their record fall to 4-4. UBC is now 5-3 on the season.
In spite of the weekend’s results coach Steve Manuel is confident his team will rebound answering quickly post match saying “all is positive. We are 4-4 having played the best in Canada. Now we regroup and take care of business these next four weeks.”
“We are still getting better with every match,” Manuel finishes and point out that the first four teams the heat have played have been: twice the top-ranked team in the country (Alberta, TWU), the defending national champions (Manitoba), and the national silver medalists who were also the most recent Canada West champions and winners of six of the last seven national championships (UBC).
Both UBC teams will travel to Winnipeg next weekend. The Thunderbirds will face the University of Manitoba Bisons while the Heat will battle the University of Winnipeg Wesmen.
UBC Okanagan’s match on Friday, November 7 will commence at 4 p.m. PT and a live stream will be available at canadawest.tv.
~ With notes from By Jacqueline MacDiarmid (UBC Sports Information)