The CIS No. 1 ranked UBC Okanagan Heat close out their final road game in style sweeping MacEwan University in three sets (25-22, 26-24, 25-8), and return home to close out the season.
Women's Volleyball (Canada West conference match)
Saturday, February 13th, 2016
University City Centre Campus Gymnasium, Edmonton, AB
SET SCORES 1 2 3 TEAM RECORDS UBC Okanagan........ (3) 25 26 25 20-2 MacEwan............. (0) 22 24 8 7-15
EDMONTON, AB - The UBC Okanagan Heat completed the weekend sweep of the MacEwan Griffins with a clean win in straight sets (25-22, 26-24, 25-8) on Saturday night at the MacEwan University gymnasium. With the win, the Heat women's volleyball team now owns the best record in Canada West, at 20-2, while with the loss the Griffins now sit at 7-15. While the Heat have clinched a playoff spot, whether or not they earn the first place spot, and the first round playoff bye that comes with it, will be determined next weekend.
UBC Okanagan’s attack proved to be the difference on Saturday night, with the Heat totaling 44 kills in the match. The Heat had two players in double digits in kills, with Kaitlynn Given earning 13 (.440) and Megan Festival earning 12 (.290). The Griffins’ Cassidy Kinsella led her team’s attack, scoring seven kills (.051) of MacEwan’s 24 in the match. UBC Okanagan finished the night with a .273 attack percentage, and MacEwan finished hitting .103.
Heat setter Emily Oxland led the match in assists (29), digs (14), and service aces (4). Oxland now sits at 127 career service aces, six away from the current Canada West record of 133, set by Jaki Ellis with Alberta in 2013 (The record book has not been updated to included the 2014-15 season so the record will be unofficial until the record's are updated.)
The first set of the night saw UBC Okanagan earn a win by scoring in streaks. Behind 5-2 early, the Heat scored five straight points, including four consecutive kills, to take a 7-5 lead, after which the Griffins did not earn another lead in the set. The Heat also jumped out to a 22-15 lead at one point after a run of four straight points, before MacEwan put together four straight points of their own to pull within three. The teams then traded points, until Katie Wuttunee put the set away, 25-22, with her second kill of the set.
The second set saw more back and forth, with the largest lead being six points, at 19-13 in favour of the Heat. The longest run in the set was by the Heat, who went from down 6-4 to up 9-6, on kills from Megan Festival and Brianna Beamish and three Griffins attack errors. The Heat held set point at 24-21, but the Griffins pulled even at 24 with a service error from the Heat’s Emily Oxland, a kill from Kate Rozendaal, and then a ball handling error by Oxland. The Heat then promptly put the set away, 26-24, on back-to-back kills from Kaitlynn Given and Katy Klomps.
While the first two sets were closely contested, it is the third set that stands out on the score sheet. After going into extra points to determine the second, the Heat came out on fire to win the third by 17 points, 25-8. UBC Okanagan scored the first nine points in the set, a run that included two service aces by Emily Oxland, and three kills from the team. In that third set, UBC Okanagan scored 12 kills to MacEwan’s three, and had an attack percentage of .273 while holding the Griffins to -.054.
UBC Okanagan (20-2) will decide their playoff position next weekend, their final games of the conference season, in two matches against Mount Royal (11-11). The Saturday, February 20th match between the Heat and the Cougars will feature a recognition of the graduating players on the Heat, as it will be their final regular season home game with the team. The MacEwan Griffins will play their final two matches of the season against the Brandon Bobcats in Manitoba next weekend.
With six players graduating from the program the upcoming week of practice will be key for Heat coach Steve Manuel, who was happy with his teams play and how they handled the pressure this weekend. "They will be chomping at it and ready to go. We have a lot of work to do still," promises Manuel, explaining that this week's focus at practice will be on, "Fine tuning a few things. Defense was good and so was our hitting [this past weekend]. [The team will] work on our ball control and blocking, then just overall tweaking of team play."
Graduating players: Brianna Beamish (Surrey, BC), Katelyn DeJong (Calgary, AB), Kailin Jones (Kelowna, BC), Chandler Proch (Kelowna, BC), Katy Klomps (Surrey, BC), Katie Wuttunee (North Vancouver, BC).
~ Grayson Leahy, Heat communications