Falling just several points shy of capturing the Canada West championship the UBC Okanagan women's volleyball team can put the five set loss to TWU behind them and look ahead to a national championship tournament.
Women's Volleyball (Canada West Final Four championship match)
Saturday, March 5, 2016
UBC Okanagan Gymnasium, Kelowna, BC
SET SCORES 1 2 3 4 5 TEAM RECORDS Trinity Western..... (3) 25 18 25 23 15 (20-4) (4-0) UBC Okanagan........ (2) 19 25 18 25 10 (22-2) (1-1)
Despite the loss, the Heat players are focused on the task ahead. “We talked pre-season about what we wanted to accomplish, and going to nationals and being on the podium was one of our goals,” said Brianna Beamish after the match, continuing “we want to win nationals. That’s our goal, we’re gonna do everything that we can to win next weekend.”
Trinity Western has now won back to back Canada West conference championships, both years they did so by beating the host team both years.
Set Scores: (25-19, 18-25, 25-18, 23-25, 15-10)
The teams split the first two sets, trading blows like the heavyweights these two teams have been since October.
Intense and raucous from start to finish the crowd at UBC Okanagan seemed to will their hometown team to extend the match to five with 25-23 fourth set win.
The deciding set saw Trinity Western close out strong and finish the match 15-10. The Spartans took an 8-6 lead into the technical time-out, and fought off the Heat attack to win four consecutive points, going up 13-8. Holding strong, the Spartans stayed consistent at the net, before taking the final point on a service error.
Elizabeth Wendel, notched four kills in the fifth for the Spartans, 20 total in the match, earning the fourth year lefty swinging outside the Canada West Final Four MVP.
Mikasa Players of the Match for the Kelowna squad was fifth year middle Katie Wuttunee.
Katie Wuttunee finished with 9 kills (.300) to lead UBC Okanagan and four service aces. Senior, Brianna Beamish finished the night with seven kills and nine digs. Megan Festival finished with 10 digs.
As a team the Heat finished tonight's match up with (39) kills and an attack percentage of (.137). The Spartans were able to effectively attack the net and finished tonight's gold medal game with (58) and an attack percentage of (.227).
Trinity Western had three players in double digits and were led by Elizabeth Wendel with 20 kills (.279). Sophie Carpentier followed with 15 kills (.222) and Mikasa Player of the Match was Mariel Garcia with 11 kills (.214) and 13 digs.
From the first serve, the UBC Okanagan gymnasium was packed, loud, and raucous, with fans from both teams making themselves heard consistently throughout the match.
“I think it was a good experience for us to play in front a crowd like this,” said Brianna Beamish after the match, “‘cause that’s what it’s gonna be like in Brandon next week.”
Michelle Jakszuk added, on the same topic, “Having Final Four here was tons of fun, definitely a lot of excitement. We’ve had support from the fans, people at the school, faculty, and they really made it all happen for us. It was a great atmosphere, I’m so glad we had the opportunity to host.” Jakszuk added, having so many people here was definitely making people anxious. As much as people won’t admit it, it did have an effect. You might have seen some of us taking deep breaths on the court, trying to calm ourselves down, but it’s really kind of hard to compete with all the other atmosphere that was happening in the gym.”
First year Heat player Katinka Krahn also spoke about the opportunity to play in a Final Four at home, saying “The atmosphere is indescribable. It’s just so amazing, with the support from our fans, and the team, and just everyone knowing that we can do this . . . is just the greatest thing I’ve experienced in volleyball so far.”
Trinity Western took the first set 25-19. The Spartans started strong in the set, jumping out to a 4-1 lead. The Heat tied the match up at 8-8, then 9-9, and took a hard fought 16-15 lead into the technical time-out. The Spartans made full use of their power attack late in the set, with Elizabeth Wendel and Sophie Carpentier combining for four kills in the final six TWU points.
UBC Okanagan won an outstanding second set, 25-18. Trinity Western started strong again in the second, taking a quick 5-1 lead, with three of those points coming from Elizabeth Wendel kills. The Heat once again tied it up at 8-8, and building on a strong service run from Katie Wuttunee, took their lead up to four, at 12-8.
The Heat won back serve, at 13-10, on a nearly minute-long rally that featured huge swings, diving digs, and blocks from both teams. At the technical time-out, UBC Okanagan had a 16-12 lead. The Heat held on to the lead through the end of the set, with Siobhan Fitzpatrick coming into the match and serving the final four points, including one ace.
Trinity Western won a back-and-forth third set, 25-18. The Heat took their first lead of the third set at 11-10, but the Spartans took a 16-13 lead into the technical time-out. The Spartans held steady, and went on a four point run to earn set point at 24-17. The final point of the set came on another strong kill from Elizabeth Wendel.
UBC Okanagan won the fourth set 25-23. The frame started with interesting serving - back-to-back service errors from Mariel Garcia and Emily Oxland, and a point later back-to-back service aces from Kristin Anton, who then had a service error of her own a point after that.
The Heat went on a six point run to pull within one, at 13-12 for TWU, that included back-to-back service aces from Katie Wuttunee. With yet another service ace, this time from Kaitlynn Given, the Heat tied the set up at 14. Trinity Western scored two points in a row, the second of which came on a call that was loudly contested by Heat fans, to take a 16-14 lead into the technical time-out.
The Heat went on another run late in the fourth set, winning three points in a row to pull within one at 21-20 and force a Trinity Western time-out. The teams traded points, until the Heat took their first lead of the set at 24-23, and then won the set when Spartan hitter Mariel Garcia put an attack out the back of the court.
“In the fourth set I looked at [Katie] Wuttunee, when we were down,” said Beamish of the Heat’s dramatic comeback in the set, “and I was like ‘these are not going to be our last four points in this gym. We are gonna keep going.’ So that was just kind of our mentality.”
After the gold medal match, and prior to the awarding of the gold and silver medals, awards were handed out to attending members of the Canada West All-Rookie team, and the Canada West First- and Second- Team All-Stars, which were announced earlier this week. Canada West individual awards for the season were handed out as well.
From the Heat, Katie Wuttunee was named a First Team All-Star, Katy Klomps and Brianna Beamish were named to the Second Team, and head coach Steve Manuel was named Coach of the Year.
“Beamish, Wuttunee and Klomps being recognized is definitely not a surprise,” said Michelle Jakszuk, speaking about the awards after the gold medal match. “I’m so proud of all of them, and I think everyone else is. They worked so hard, and they really show leadership on and off the court.” Jakszuk added, on Steve Manuel’s Coach of the Year award, “Steve just really knows what to tell us and what to teach us, and when to tell us when to do things . . . and how to present it to us so we don’t get all frazzled, he really has a good sense of direction.”
Both the Trinity Western University Spartans and the UBC Okanagan Heat along with the UBC Thunderbirds will join the host Brandon Bobcats as the four Canada West team competing in the CIS national championships next weekend in Brandon, MB. The tournament opens Friday March 11.
HEAT NOTES: This was the final home match for the Heat this season.....Six players played their last match in Kelowna.....Katelyn DeJong, Chandler Proch, Kailin Jones, Brianna Beamish, Katy Klomps, and Katie Wuttunee....Kailin Jones and Chandler Proch are both from Kelowna......both nights the UBC Okanagan gymnasium was standing room only during the Heat matches with close to 3000 in attendance over the weekend....The draw for the CIS volleyball championships will be released on SUNDAY around 3 p.m. PST (women) and 5 p.m. PST (men).....the final day of the national championship will be a 'Spring ahead' day as Daylight Savings Time starts on March 13....
~ Grayson Leahy // Heat athletics