Friday night in Kelowna the Heat handled the Griffins in straight sets (25-22, 25-21, 25-22) , the fourth straight set win for UBC Okanagan.
Women's Volleyball (Canada West conference play)
|(3) UBC Okanagan
|UBC Okanagan (11-4)||25||25||25||3|
KELOWNA, BC - Although shaky at closing each set, the UBC Okanagan Heat women powered through their match versus the MacEwan Griffins to win in three sets (25-22, 25-21, 25-22) Friday night in Canada West women’s volleyball play in Kelowna.
“I thought we executed well enough when we had to,” commented Heat coach Steve Manuel. “It wasn’t our sharpest match. MacEwan is gritty, finds ways to score and keeps teams off balance. We were expecting that, but I’m happy that we were able to counter those runs.”
And counter they have – the Heat women have won 20 out of their last 21 sets.
“I think it’s more about maintaining focus throughout the game,” posited Heat outside hitter Kaitlynn Given (3rd year, Kelowna, BC). “We have a solid group of girls, and anyone can come off the bench and do what they need to do. Having a variety of players that do different things at different times really helps with team chemistry.”
Heat outside hitter Brianna Beamish (4th year, Surrey, BC) spearheaded the UBC Okanagan attack with 12 kills, while outside hitters Megan Festival (3rd year, Calgary, AB) and Kaitlynn Given contributed with 9 kills apiece. Libero Kailin Jones (4th year, Kelowna, BC) put up 13 digs.
Emily Oxland started at setter on Friday for UBC Okanagan and finished with a game high 29 assists.
Griffins outside hitter Porsha Diggs (5th year, Edmonton, AB) led their offensive effort with 9 kills, and fellow outside hitter Cassidy Kinsella (2nd year, Leduc, AB) followed with 7 kills of her own. Libero Karly Edgar (2nd year, Sherwood Park, AB) had 12 digs on the night.
The three sets were mirror images of one another with UBC Okanagan jumping out to a lead after the technical timeout. In sets one and two the Heat were up seven on the Griffins, only to see MacEwan fight their way back into the match.
Set one it was MacEwan down eight (14-22) before winning eight of the next nine on the host team when back to back kills by Brianna Beamish and Megan Festival closed out the set, 25-22.
The second set it was 22-16 for UBC Okanagan when the Griffins closed to 21-24 before Beamish with kill ended the set 25-21.
The third set was tight right until the end; MacEwan had a lead at 15-13 but a service run by Megan Festival sent UBC Okanagan with the lead 16-15 at the technical timeout. This was a lead they never surrendered as they closed out the set and the match 25-22.
“We’ll fine tune a couple of things [for Saturday] and focus a bit more on our side of the net,” added Manuel. “Our team does some of the difficult things very well, and we sometimes neglect to do some of the easier things better. We’re going to focus on the small things.”
With the win the Heat jump up to 11-4, while the Griffins drop to 5-8. They will rematch on Saturday evening at 5 p.m. in the gymnasium at UBC’s Okanagan campus.