UBC Okanagan Heat take weekend versus visiting Saskatchewan 6-0 to improve to 8-4. On the road next weekend in Regina.
Women's Volleyball (Canada West conference play)
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KELOWNA, B.C. – A chilly Saturday night in Kelowna would not stop a scorching hot UBC Okanagan Heat women’s volleyball team from handily taking out the visiting Saskatchewan Huskies in straight sets to move their win streak to four and improve to 5-1 at home (25-18, 25-10, 25-17).
The defense at the net for the home squad proved impenetrable as the Huskies recorded a match average of .029 on the attack while the Heat recorded 13.0 team blocks spread across virtually every one of their players who saw floor time.
Third-year Heat outside Megan Festival (Calgary, AB) would have her fingers all over the match as she orchestrated a virtuoso performance from the service line in the second set and a bevy of kills down the stretch of the third to put away the sled dogs for good. Her match-high 12 kills (.478), three service aces and ten digs contributed to her receiving Player of the Game honours.
After a rocky start to the opening set, the Heat blazed their way to a 16-9 lead into the midway break. The Huskies would make a game out of the set as they turned around to mount a 7-2 run to force Heat coach Steve Manuel to call a break at 16-19. Whatever the coach’s message, it seemed to reignite the home team, who pushed unabated to a 25-18 decision for the 1-0 lead.
The second set featured a serving clinic by third-year Heat outside Megan Festival, who took out a mortgage for some property along the service line that paid out in a 13-0 run early, including two service aces. Her team went into the technical break 16-3. The Huskies would manage only ten points in the period as the home team coasted to another 2-0 edge over their prairie opponents.
“Game plan was simply for her to keep making good, tough serves,” said Manuel postgame. “It was just … let’s keep our foot on the gas, let’s keep putting pressure on this team, and let’s make them sideout. Because what we’ve been doing with teams up to this point is we’ve let them off the hook. We get two or three points [but] we miss our service. And tonight was about not letting them off the hook. Once we get a couple we just keep plunking it in, and let our blocking and our defense do its work.”
Up 20-10 in the third set and threatening to skunk the Huskies a final time, Manuel would opt to take another break as Ruby Stefan spearheaded a counterattack that saw a 5-0 run try and close the gap. Once again, the Okanagan squad responded well out of the timeout and they would close out the set 25-17.
Last night’s Husky heroine in Emmalyn Copping (25 kills, match-high) was largely absent tonight, scoring two kills in the first set and remaining a blank sheet in that column after the fact. In her place, Stefan went for a team-high seven kills (.167) to go with four digs.
Jennifer Heuser led Saskatchewan in digs with seven, while setter Jina Barker had 20 assists, six digs and two block assists.
UBC Okanagan’s Emily Oxland (N. Vancouver, BC) got the start at setter tonight, dishing out a match-high 32 assists. Fourth-year outside hitter Brianna Beamish (Surrey, BC) joined Festival in double-digit kills with ten. Kailin Jones (Kelowna, BC) had a match-high 12 digs at libero.
Katie Wuttunee (N. Vancouver, BC) and Michelle Jakszuk (Gibsons, BC) had five block assists each, while Katy Klomps (Surrey, BC) led the Heat defense with two solo blocks and four block assists.
The Heat improve to 8-4 while the Huskies drop to 3-7. Okanagan is on the road next weekend for a back-to-back with Regina while Saskatchewan heads to MacEwan for the same. Games Friday night get underway at 4 p.m. PST with Saturday’s matchups starting at 3 p.m. PST.
Watch the action online and stream live stats at canadawest.tv.
Heat notes…Megan Festival took 25 trips to the service line over the course the night, committing one error and recording three aces in the process.