UBC Okanagan take down the UBC Thunderbirds for first time in league play against their sister school in four sets on Friday night in Kelowna. Rematch will go tomorrow at 5 p.m. (PST) at UBC Okanagan.
Women’s Volleyball (Canada West conference match)
Friday, January 29th, 2016
UBC Okanagan gymnasium, Kelowna, BC
SET SCORES 1 2 3 4 TEAM RECORDS UBC................. (1) 19 18 25 21 12-5 UBC Okanagan........ (3) 25 25 23 25 16-1
KELOWNA, BC – The UBC Okanagan Heat defeated the visiting UBC Thunderbirds three sets to one on Friday night at the UBC Okanagan gym, in front of a crowd of 1100 people. It is the first time that UBC Okanagan has defeated UBC in Canada West competition. UBC Okanagan took the first two sets 25-19, and 25-18. The Thunderbirds took the third set, 25-23. The Heat then came back to win the fourth set, 25-21, to take the first of two matches this weekend.
The win is the eleventh in a row for UBCO, two shy of their longest winning streak in Canada West conference play, and moves the Heat to 16-1 on the season, the loss is the fifth of the year, with three of their five losses coming on the road, the T-Birds record is now (12-5) yet they are still comfortably in fourth place in Canada West. UBC Okanagan won 13 straight matches from Saturday, October 18, 2014 – Friday, January 30, 2015.
UBC Okanagan’s attack was led by Brianna Beamish (11 kills; .088), Megan Festival (nine kills; .094), and Erin Drew (nine kills; .467); Danielle Brisebois (.270), Juliana Kaufmanis (.162), and Alissa Coulter (.103) were the leading attackers for UBC, scoring 14, 12, and 10 kills respectively.
Emily Oxland finished with 26 assists for the Heat, and Alessandra Gentile tallied 38 of the Thunderbirds’ 45 total assists. In the digs category, Megan Festival led UBC Okanagan with 12, and Alissa Coulter led UBC with ten.
The teams were evenly matched in the first frame, with both sides attacking and blocking well. The UBC Okanagan Heat scored a total of 13 kills in the first set, to the UBC Thunderbirds’ nine.
The Heat increased their margin of victory by one in the second set, taking it 25-18. The second frame saw the Heat score a total of 12 kills to the Thunderbirds’ 10.
UBC played their best volleyball of the match in the third set, taking the closest of the four frames by a score of 25-23. UBC scored first, and didn’t allow UBC Okanagan to take the lead at any point in the set. The Thunderbirds held the Heat to their lowest hitting percentage of the match, .114, and scored 13 kills to the Heat’s 11.
Of that third set loss, Heat head coach Steve Manuel said, “I don’t think we were doing anything terrible, we just weren’t finishing plays. To beat a team like UBC, you’ve got to have your foot on the throttle the whole time, and we just let our foot off the gas and coasted a bit too much. You can never afford to do that against a team like that, they’re just too good, too well coached.” He added, on the fact that his team came back to win the next set, “we just pushed a little bit harder in that fourth set, like we did in the first two, and it made the difference.
UBC Okanagan took back the momentum in the fourth set, and put UBC away by a score of 25-21 for the frame. The final point was scored on a kill from Heat middle, Katie Wuttunee, to end the match with an exclamation point.
Coach Manuel said after the win, “we’ve been sick, and we’ve still got some players out, and it was a gutsy performance by our student-athletes tonight, so I’m pretty happy.”
Statistically, the teams were evenly matched throughout. Both teams finished with 45 kills; the Heat finished with an attack percentage of .176 on 125 attacks, and the Thunderbirds finished with .160 on 131 attacks. UBC finished with more assists (43-42), while UBC Okanagan finished with more service aces (6-2), digs (54-48), and block assists (20-18) in the four-set match.
The player of the game award went to UBC Okanagan middle, #15 Erin Drew.
The two teams will face off again tomorrow night (Saturday, Jan. 30), at 5 p.m. once again in the gym at UBC’s Okanagan campus.
~ Grayson Leahy // Heat communications