WINNIPEG, MB – After taking out the Bisons in a grueling five sets on Friday, the Heat were unable to do the same on Saturday as they fell to the No. 5 ranked University of Manitoba Bisons women’s volleyball team in four sets (19-25, 26-24, 25-18, 25-19).
Whatever the Bisons lacked in their last defeat they corrected on Saturday, winning three consecutive sets after losing the first 25-19.
With the results of the Saturday’s match, the Bisons climb to 4-2 on their season, and the Heat fall to 2-4.
Manitoba was led in kills by outside hitter Crystal Mulder (1st year, Winnipeg, MB), who had 15, and fourth year Nicole Hall (Libero, Winnipeg, MB) led in digs with an impressive 21.
UBC Okanagan’s outside hitter Myrte Schön (3rd year, Langley, BC) led her team in kills with 13, and middle Kendra Wayling (Castlegar, BC) had the most digs with 13.
The Heat came out strong in the first set, taking a big early lead on the Bisons to kick off the game. Manitoba’s head coach Ken Bentley called a timeout shortly after, which seemed to get his team back on track, allowing them to head into the technical timeout trailing 16-15. The Bisons weren’t able to hold any type of lead in the first set and would take a 25-19 loss, putting UBC Okanagan up 1-0 on the match.
The Heat jumped to an early lead again in the second set, but the Bisons would once again manage to make up the deficit and tie things up at 13-13 before UBC Okanagan head coach Steve Manuel called a timeout. The teams traded leads back and forth in the closing moments of the set, but a block by UBC Okanagan’s Myrte Schön that landed out of bounds gave Manitoba the set at a score of 26-24, tying the game at 1-1.
“As soon as we opened the door in the second set they [Manitoba] really took advantage of it,” says Manuel on how the game turned on the Heat in that set.
“We played well in the first two sets, but when we missed a couple of opportunities to put away the Bisons in the second…it opened the door for Manitoba They are too good a team to let them give them any opportunities.”
Things stayed consistently close in the third set, with neither team being able to grab a big lead before the technical timeout at a score of 16-13 Bisons. Manitoba made quick work of the Heat after the timeout, taking the set 25-18, and going up 2-1.
“We played very well for the first two sets and simply couldn’t maintain that level of play against a very good team,” points out Manuel. “As the match went on Manitoba got stronger and stronger and we just weren’t able to keep up.”
The game theirs to lose, Manitoba grabbed and held an early lead to kick off the fourth set. The Heat made one last stab at the Bisons and went into the technical timeout trailing by only two, with Manitoba leading 16-14, when Manitoba buckled down, pulling out a 25-19 victory on the set, and took the game 3-1.
After the game Manuel was honest with his thoughts about the results:
“It was good. I’m still positive that we are walking away from the University of Manitoba with a split. Had you asked me what I would have liked going in, I would have said if we can come out of there with a split I’ll be a happy guy, which would have been a lie. But I’ll look back on it and say, ‘we got a split at the University of Manitoba’ – and it was all good.”
The Heat will have a bye this upcoming weekend and then hit the road to play a pair of games in Langley versus the tenth ranked Trinity Western Spartans. Games are Friday and Saturday, Nov. 25-26 at 6 p.m. at the Langley Events Centre. The Manitoba Bisons play next on November 18 in Thompson Rivers against the WolfPack. Games will be streamed live on www.canadawest.tv.