The Heat women's volleyball team stretched their winning streak to a dozen after sweeping away the No. 7 UBC Thunderbirds on Saturday in Kelowna.
Women's Volleyball (Canada West conference match)
Saturday, January 30th, 2016
UBC Okanagan gymnasium, Kelowna, BC
FINAL 1 2 3 SCORE UBC (12-6) 21 23 21 0 UBC Okanagan (17-1) 25 25 25 3
KELOWNA, B.C. - Brianna Beamish went off for 16 kills in a three set sweep (25-21, 25-23, 25-21) against the visiting UBC Thunderbirds.
The fifth year outside hitter also pulled up 20 digs for the Heat's twelfth straight win (and their second straight over their sister campus school) on Saturday night in Kelowna.
The UBC Okanagan women's volleyball team improves their record now to 17-1 and are currently (11-0) in three set matches this season. Their .944 winning percentage has them in a tie for first place with Trinity Western in the Canada West division. This sets up a first place showdown next weekend in Langley. The Heat and Spartans play this Friday and Saturday (Feb. 5-6) at the Langley Event Centre.
This is the second win that the Heat have taken from UBC since their entry into the CIS in 2011. The loss drops the T-Birds' record to (12-6).
Lower mainland native and fifth year Brianna Beamish admitted regarding the win, "It feels great… we keep talking about it; there are five seniors who have been here the whole time. We're like - finally. It just feels great!"
UBC Okanagan maintained a lead throughout the entire first set, with a Thunderbird service error closing out the (21-25) win for the Heat.
UBC Okanagan started the set off strong with a (4-0) run prompting a timeout to be taken by the Thunderbirds, and again when the Heat scorched the score to 11-3.
The Thunderbirds found their rhythm midway through, chipping away at the Heat's lead with successful 2-point runs and proved relentless in keeping the pressure on the Heat; coming as close as 21-20 near the Heat's lead.
In the first set the Heat were led by Beamish with four kills and nine digs, and Megan Festival chipping in with eight digs. Danielle Brisebois lead the Thunderbirds with five kills, and Nicola Laniuk chipped in with four kills.
The Heat won the second set, in a close match with the Thunderbirds. UBC carried the momentum they attained midway through the first set into the second, keeping the score tight (9-9). The Heat then went on a four points scoring streak, prompting UBC to call a time-out. The Heat successfully closed the game (25-23).
UBC started off the third set with strong serves, taking the lead for the first time in their series (2-0). The Heat recovered quickly bringing the game to a tie (2-2), and after an exciting four point rally, regained composure with a (7-4) lead.
UBC regained the lead (18-17), testing the Heat's composure. Senior Katie Wuttunee responded with an unreturnable kill to once again tie the game, and Megan Festival then followed with the delivery of another kill to reestablish their lead (19-18). Juliana Kaufmanis of UBC, delivered a worthy kill to return the game to an exciting (19-19) score, further demonstrating the determination of the Thunderbirds to keep the pressure on.
Ultimately, a service error by UBC lead to a kill by Beamish, placing UBC Okanagan in the lead (21-19) – prompting another UBC time out. Victoria Behie came out of the timeout for UBC with a kill and brought this game back within a single point (20-21). A strong round of serving by the Heat's Emily Oxland lead to Beamish capitalizing with three big kills to successfully defeat and sweep the UBC Thunderbirds.
Senior, Katie Wuttunee also a Vancouver native mentioned, "The support we felt from our fans was immense, and playing so united as a team on our home court, really makes the feeling of this success both incredible and exhilarating. Our team has been going through a lot of adversity with injuries and sickness, so to see us overcome this with our depth contributing to pulling us through is really great!"
The Heat were led by senior Brianna Beamish who had 16 kills and 20 digs, giving her a double double and was deservedly awarded player of the game. Katie Wuttunee added nine kills, and Megan Festival added eight kills and 16 digs. Libero, Kailin Jones finished the match off with 14 digs and setter Emily Oxland finished the game with 29 assists and a service ace.
For the Thunderbirds, Danielle Brisebois led with 15 kills. Juliana Kaufmanis added nine kills and 16 digs, and Nicola Laniuk also added five kills.
Moving into next weekend's game against Trinity Western, whom UBC Okanagan is currently tied in first place with, Beamish addressed the Heat's momentum moving forwards, stating, "We're really placing an emphasis on maintaining our level of focus for longer. Yesterday we had a little bit of a lapse in focus and that's where they took advantage in the set. So really, for us, it's just maintaining the focus and keeping up on playing championship ball."
The Thunderbirds wil return home next weekend and host the (11-9) Thompson Rivers WolfPack in a fourth/fifth place showdown. The fourth seed hosts the first round of playoffs and the fifth place team will play on the road.
~ Emiko Ohama // Heat communications