CALGARY, AB. – The UBC Okanagan Heat were unable to overcome sophomore setter Jordhynn Guy ‘s impressive serving performance and solid play as the Calgary Dinos recorded a straight-sets victory over the Heat (25-21, 25-15, 25-22) to sweep their weekend series Saturday night in the Jack Simpson Gym.
The win moves the Dinos up to 6-6 on the season as they hit the Christmas break, while UBC Okanagan falls to 2-8 in its inaugural Canada West season.
After edging the Heat in a five-set thriller Friday, the Dinos came out much more quickly in this one and opened up an early 9-3 lead in the opening set. The Heat clawed back into it but never managed to take the lead back from Calgary.
“We didn’t quite have it today. We were a little banged up after last night’s marathon, and didn’t quite have the horses to maintain that level again,” says Steve Manuel, head coach of the Heat. “They played a lot better and we played quite tentative and thus, the final outcome.”
The second set was all Dinos from start to finish as they hit an impressive 39 per cent against an even zero for the Heat to take it 25-15. The third saw Calgary fall behind 7-2 early, but a 6-1 run evened the score at 8-8. UBC Okanagan again took the lead at 22-21, but the Dinos reeled off four straight points to close out the match with a 25-22 win.
“We just stopped playing completely,” said Manuel; “it was close until they went on a big run and we just couldn’t get out of the rotation. We just didn’t come to play tonight.”
Guy, who started a match for the first time this season, had four kills, seven digs, four blocks, an ace, and 34 assists for the Dinos in an impressive performance.
“In addition to how strong and physical she is, she’s just always contributing in ways that don’t always show up on the stats sheet,” said Natalie Schwartz, head coach of the Dinos. “She’s a huge competitor and a feisty leader for our team.”
Lindsey Doland and Andrea Price had virtually identical stat lines, both finishing with 11 kills to lead the Dinos. Hayes added eight, while Ali Sandholm and Emma Pedersen – also starting her first match of the year – chipped in six each.
UBC Okanagan responded with eight kills from outside hitter Alex Basso (4th year, Kelowna, BC), with third year Myrte Schön (Outside hitter, Langley, BC) and freshman Brianna Beamish (Outside hitter, Surrey, BC) chipping in five each. Middle Kendra Wayling (3rd year, Castlegar, BC) led the team in digs with 11.
Steve Manuel is ready for the semester break and is okay with where his team is positioned in the standings, especially after going through his team’s first semester schedule:
“We had the toughest schedule of any team in Canada West to this point and we have fared quite well considering we have no CIS experience on our team. We could have been 4-6 just as easily as we are 2-8 and we know that. We are at the lower end result wise then we would like, but we’ve competed with five of the top teams in Canada West; and we are still sitting in a position where we can make a run for a playoff spot in the second semester,” adds Manuel.
Steve is going to have his team “focus on preparing for the second semester now,” adding “teams had better be prepared to play us after the break.”
Both teams head into the Christmas break before returning to action in January. The Heat wraps up a lengthy eight-match road trip with a visit to Brandon Jan. 13-14 (4 p.m. PST), while the Dinos enjoy the bye that week and return to the floor Jan. 20-21 when they host the Saskatchewan Huskies in the Jack Simpson Gym.
GAME NOTES: Maura Hayes punctuated the opening-set victory with back-to-back service aces. And she started the second set with another ace – three of her impressive five on the night. “We went on a lot of serving runs tonight, and specifically Maura came out on fire, ripping balls aggressively at the seams,” said Natalie Schwartz, head coach of the Dinos. “She was a spark plug and kind of got the rest of the team going with that aggressive serving.”….The Heat’s Brianna Beamish returned to the lineup tonight after being out for a month with various injuries, “nice to have her back,” says Manuel….The Heat have not faced an unranked (top ten in Canada) opponent in any league match so far this year…UBC Okanagan in the second set as a team had an attack percentage of .000, with 7 kills and 7 errors, compared to Calgary with their attack percentage of .393 in that set. For the game Heat at .119, Calgary at .250.