UBC Okanagan extends win streak to three and wins third straight at home as they down Saskatchewan 3-1 (25-22, 25-17, 23-25, 25-14).
Women's Volleyball (Canada West conference play)
|UBC Okanagan (7-4)||25||25||23||25||3|
KELOWNA, B.C. – Back at home for the sixth weekend of Canada West play, the UBC Okanagan Heat women’s volleyball squad dispatched the visiting Saskatchewan Huskies 3-1 Saturday night to win their third straight (25-22, 25-17, 23-25, 25-14). It is also their third straight home victory this season.
It was classified as an “ugly win” by Heat bench boss Steve Manuel, who was nonetheless proud of his squad’s ability to get the job done. “I don’t think we were particularly sharp tonight,” the coach said, quick to congratulate his team but also keeping an even eye on the bigger picture. “I would classify that as an ugly win by us. We didn’t perform very well, but we found a way to get the job done.”
Fourth-year Heat outside hitter Brianna Beamish (Surrey, BC) was the carrying force for the home squad, finding every right moment to either stop the bleeding from a Saskatchewan run or clinch a key set win. She would wrap up with a team-high 16 kills (.424) while chipping in two solo blocks and four digs en route to Player of Game honours.
On the other side of the net, third-year Emmalyn Copping (Calgary, AB) was the driving force of the Huskies’ offensive engine as she powered her way to a match-high 25 kills (.315) alongside one block assist and seven digs.
The opening set was a slugfest with neither squad giving much room. The Huskies would lead 16-15 into the technical break, and would continue going back and forth until the Heat’s Beamish sealed a lead-taking kill for a 23-22 edge, only to follow up with the set winning kill two plays later for the 25-22 first set clincher.
The second frame saw the Okanagan team open quickly with a 9-3 start before Huskies coach Jason Grieve would call for a break. Trying to claw their way back, the canines would be dogged by the Heat to a 16-9 deficit into the technical timeout. The home team would cling to its lead through a smooth 25-17 set win.
It was Saskatchewan’s turn to pounce on the Heat, as they would take an 11-7 lead to convince Heat coach Steve Manuel to take a breather and readdress the game plan. The Huskies had a handle on the set the rest of the way despite a heroic comeback at the end that saw the Heat go on a 7-3 run to overcome a six point deficit to pull within striking distance. Emmalyn Copping ultimately cooled the Heat comeback with her 19th kill on the night to force a fourth.
The Heat found their way back into the driver’s seat in the fourth and final frame, leading by as much as nine on two occasions and never letting up the gas on their way to a 25-14 match decider.
Manuel went with fourth-year setter Chandler Proch again tonight, as the Kelowna product notched 33 assists, six digs and one block assist. Behind Beamish on a balanced Heat offense were third-year outside Megan Festival (Calgary, AB) and fourth-year middle Katie Wuttunee (North Vancouver, BC) with 11 and 10 kills, respectively.
Back in the rotation after staying home from last weekend’s road trip to Winnipeg, fourth-year Heat middle Katy Klomps was an impenetrable force at the net, recording 4.5 blocks for the night.
Arguably one of the deeper teams in the league, Manuel credits his team’s ability to levy a balanced attack and grind out these kinds of wins to the squad’s overall talent and commitment to fill various roles as needed. “That’s the key to our team,” he said simply, adding that, “When somebody is not firing on all cylinders there’s other people who can go in and carry the load for a while for that night or [whatever we need].”
For the Huskies, Anne Hanbidge and Jennifer Hueser dug up ten balls apiece, while setter Jina Barker matched Proch’s 33 assist mark, adding eight digs and 2.0 blocks.
UBC Okanagan improves to 7-4 while Saskatchewan dips to 3-6. The two teams will rematch tomorrow night at 5 p.m. in the UBC Okanagan gymnasium.
HEAT NOTES: Wuttunee by 2's, Katie Wuttunee is enjoying a strong fourth year to this point but for some reason she only likes even numbers. In the 12 games for UBC Okanagan so far Katie has 10 kills 4 times, 12 kills 3 times, 8 kills 3 times, she has only had an even number of kills 2 times this year, once with 5 and once with 7.
Watch the action online and stream live stats at canadawest.tv.