Women's Volleyball (Canada West Final Four semifinal match)
Friday, March 4, 2016
UBC Okanagan Gymnasium, Kelowna, BC
SET SCORES 1 2 3 4 TEAM RECORDS UBC................. (1) 25 17 24 22 (17-7), (2-1) UBC Okanagan........ (3) 22 25 26 25 (22-2), (1-0)
Set Scores: 22-25, 25-17, 26-24, 25-22.
In last year's Final Four competition, the Thunderbirds bounced the Heat from the playoffs in the Bronze Medal game. This year the tables have turned and with the win, UBC Okanagan will be moving on to the Canada West Championship match tomorrow, and have secured their first ever spot in a CIS National Championships.
Asked whether the win was the most exciting of her career, Heat libero Kailin Jones said, “pretty close to, yup. . . this is one of the most rewarding ones.” She continued, “I mean, I have been working my whole career here at UBCO for this one match, and we’re going to nationals and I couldn’t be more excited about it.” Asked about playing in front of a home crowd in such an exciting match, Jones continued, “Yeah, I mean it’s super cool . . . I have all of my biggest supporters here watching me in my final home games, and it makes a huge difference. You know, there’s a lot more fire under you for these games. . . yeah it definitely makes a difference playing at home and working so hard so that we could host here.”
The UBC Thunderbirds will play for the Bronze at 5 p.m. on Saturday, and the third Canada West berth in the CIS tournament in Brandon this March 11-13.
Trinity Western upended Alberta with a comeback and will match up with UBC Okanagan in the championship match. The T'Birds will be vying for the final berth to nationals against Alberta.
UBC Okanagan Mikasa Player of the Match was fourth year outside hitter Megan Festival. Setter Alessandra Gentile was the Thunderbird Mikasa Player of the Match.
UBC Okanagan's were more effective serving proved to be the difference in tonight's win as the Heat spun for 10 aces, compared to just two for UBC. On the season the Tunderbirds led the conference with 2.35 aces per set.
The Heat had two players in double digit kills. With Mikasa player of the match, Megan Festival earning 14 kills (.270) and Brianna Beamish with 11 (.184). Both Beamish and Festival spun a pair of aces, Oxland also had a pair to lead UBCO.
Danielle Brisebois finished with a match high 21 kills (.268) and Laura Mactaggart spun 14 kills (.154) of the T'Birds 59 kills in the match. UBC Okanagan finished the night with a (.182) attack percentage, and UBC finished hitting (.209).
The Heat were also able to out-block the visiting UBC squad 12-9.
The UBC Thunderbirds took the opening set 25-22. UBC jumped out to an early 6-1 lead after a string of passing and hitting errors by UBC Okanagan. At the technical time-out, the Thunderbirds led by two, 16-14. Kate DeJong forced a Thunderbirds time-out at 22-24, with a service ace after coming into the game on set point.
After the time-out, the Thunderbirds took the set on an over ball that, after conferring, the referees and linesman decided stayed in.
Brianna Beamish led all hitters with eight kills in the set. The Heat did not hold a lead at any point in the first set.
UBC Okanagan took the second set 25-17. The Heat jumped out to a strong early lead in the second frame, doubling UBC at one point, 14-7. In the most exciting rally of the set, the Heat scrambled to pull two digs from the floor and put the ball over, before a six-pack from Brianna Beamish gave them a 15-7 lead, at which the entire UBC Okanagan gymnasium erupted.
UBC Okanagan led 16-9 at the technical time-out. Laura MacTaggart had 11 kills through the first two sets to lead the Thunderbirds attack at that point.
UBC Okanagan won the third set 26-24. UBC took a quick early 5-0 lead early in the set, and led 16-13 at the technical time-out. UBC Okanagan tied the set up at 17-17, and took their first lead 18-17, after a run of strong defensive play, and three kills in four points from Megan Festival.
Following back-and-forth play, and a point against UBC for being out of rotation, the Heat took the set in extra points on a smart tip from Festival.
Danielle Brisebois had seven kills in the frame for the Thunderbirds.
UBC Okanagan took the fourth set 25-22. The Heat led 16-13 at the technical time-out, and Brianna Beamish forced another time-out from the Thunderbirds immediately with a strong first-touch kill to put the Heat up 17-13.
The Match point, was a Kaitlynn Given serve that befuddled UBC to give the Heat the final point and the match.
With the loss the Thunderbirds will be playing Alberta in Saturday night's bronze medal game that will take place tomorrow at the UBC Okanagan gymnasium at 5 p.m.
With the win, the Heat will advance to the championship game where they'll take on TWU. Both teams have secured a spot at nationals (March 11-13). First serve for tomorrow's game is at 7 p.m.
HEAT NOTES: This is the first win in five matches UBCO has earned at a Canada West Final Four.....This will be the first trip to a CIS tournament for any team at UBC Okanagan.....The Heat women's volleyball team qualified for the National tournament in just five years in the CIS......
~ Grayson Leahy // Heat athletics