With a weekend split between the UBC Okanagan Heat and the Trinity Western Spartans, the teams sit in a dead heat atop the Canada West rankings.
Women's Volleyball (Canada West conference match)
Saturday, February 6th, 2016
Langley Events Centre, Langley, BC
SET SCORES 1 2 3 4 5 TEAM RECORDS UBC Okanagan........ (3) 23 25 20 25 15 18-2 Trinity Western..... (2) 25 19 25 18 7 18-2
LANGLEY, B.C. – The No. 2 UBC Okanagan Heat rallied from a set down to earn a five-set victory (25-23, 19-25, 20-25, 25-18, 15-7) over No. 1 Trinity Western Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.
The win sees the Heat earn a weekend split with the Spartans as the top two teams in the country played back-to-back five-setters, with TWU winning Friday and the Heat taking Saturday's match.
Both teams are now tied atop the Canada West standings with 18-2 records. The two sides also possess identical 58-15 records in terms of sets won and lost, which is the first tiebreaker at the end of the season.
After the Spartans won the third set to take a 2-1 lead, the Heat put setter Chandler Proch into the match, replacing Emily Oxland, and the fifth-year's presence turned the tides. Proch helped UBC Okanagan force a fifth set with a tidy seven-point fourth-set win, before guiding the Heat to an eight-point win in the fifth set. With Proch in, the Heat outscored TWU 40-25 over the final two sets.
UBC Okanagan was led offensively by Kaitlynn Given, who had 15 kills, while Megan Festival and Brianna Beamish each had 12 kills. Kailin Jones finished with a match-high 28 digs, while Proch ended the night with 16 assists. Oxland, who started the first three sets, had 21 assists.
Elly Wendel had a team-high 13 kills for TWU, while Katelyn Devaney had 12 kills and six blocks from the middle. Setter Nikki Cornwall had 41 assists while libero Mariel Garcia had a season-high 24 digs.
As a team, the Heat hit .124 while holding TWU to .031 for the match. The Heat also had a 14-10 edge in blocks. Both teams finished with 89 digs.
Extremely pleased with Saturday's comeback five set win and the weekend split with No. 1 ranked Trinity Western Spartans, in a building they have never won in league play before, coach Steve Manual of the UBC Okanagan Heat women's volleyball team had nothing but praise for his team saying, "We've been battling injury and illness, but there was not a single excuse from one single athlete, they are warriors." Manuel also indicated that with a break or two they might have been able to squeak out two wins on the weekend, regardless he said this weekend's split was "as big as last weekend's sweep of UBC".
The first set was a tale of runs. After the teams swapped points to a 5-5 tie, the Spartans went on a 10-0 run to open a 15-5 edge. However, the Heat responded immediately with a 13-1 run to take an 18-16 lead. Just as it looked like UBC Okanagan had the momentum, the Spartans swung back, putting together a 7-0 run. The Heat rallied with four straight points, but couldn't complete the comeback, and eventually a kill from Sophie Carpentier earned the Spartans the win at 25-23.
In something of an error-filled opening set, TWU hit -.093 while UBC Okanagan hit -.098. Both teams collected six blocks each.
With the Heat up 7-5 early in the second set, a Beamish kill launched an 8-1 run that put the momentum squarely on the visitor's side. The Spartans closed the gap to four points late, at 23-19, but another Beamish kill and a TWU attack error gave the Heat the set. Both Beamish and Wuttunee had four kills to lead UBC Okanagan in the set while Wendel countered with three kills for TWU.
In the third set, the Heat took an 11-8 lead after an Oxland ace before a Festival kill put UBC Okanagan up 13-9. The Spartans quickly got right back into the set, evening it at 14-14 after a Wendel kill. Then, with TWU trailing 19-18, the Spartans went on a 5-0 run to seize momentum. After a UBC Okanagan point, a Carpentier kill set up set point, and a TWU block won the set 25-20.
After hitting negatively in the first two sets, the Spartans hit .300 as a team in the third set.
With Proch taking over the setting duties for UBC Okanagan, the Heat found their rhythm in the fourth set, tallying four straight points to take a 16-12 lead into the technical timeout. The Spartans got within one point, at 17-16, but the Heat, who hit .278 in the set, launched a 7-1 run to run away with the set. A kill from Given sent the match to a fifth set, with the Heat winning 25-18.
TWU raced out to a 4-1 lead early in the fifth set, only to see the Heat score four straight points to take a 5-4 advantage. The Spartans scored the next two points, but then UBC Okanagan took over. The Heat scored 11 of the next 12 points, capped off by their 14th block of the night as UBC Okanagan cruised to a 15-7 win.
The Spartans return to the court Feb. 12-13 when they travel to play Thompson Rivers. The Heat are also back in action next weekend as they are in Edmonton to take on MacEwan.
Game Notes: The last five matches between UBC Okanagan and TWU, including last year's Canada West semifinal, have gone to five sets…The Spartans have beaten UBC Okanagan in the last two Canada West Final Four tournaments, with TWU knocking off the Heat in the semifinals last year and the bronze medal match in 2014....The Heat have beaten Trinity Western three times, all three wins were split weekends, and every time Trinity came into the match as the No. 1 ranked team in Canada.
~ With game notes from Mark Janzen // Trinity Sports Information // Grayson Leahy // Heat sports information