Heat unable to ground Thunderbirds

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okanagan heat

January 27, 2013, Vancouver, BC – With an injured Katy Klomps (2nd year, Surrey, BC) watching from the sidelines, the Heat found themselves in a tough position Saturday night facing the number one offense in the nation. The UBC Thunderbirds have only lost five sets all year, making it very clear to the Heat.

The Thunderbirds downed their inter-university foes in straight sets 3-0 (25-12, 25-19, 25-19).

Faced with the task of solving the T-Bird attack without his top middle, head coach Steve Manuel elected to give the majority of his players considerable court time, injecting his bench more than usual. Of the 12 active Heat players, all touched the court at least once over the course of the contest. Megan Festival (1st year, Calgary, AB), in extended action off the bench, provided the majority of the Heat kills, tallying 8 while adding 11 digs. Kaitlynn Given (1st year, Kelowna, BC) added 3 kills on 6 attempts as well, as the young stars of the Heat showed up to play tonight.

“Megan Festival and Kaitlynn Given were fearless out there,” commented Manuel post-game. “We just continue to improve as a program with such young, bright talent.”

Speaking of young talent, Emily Oxland (1st year, North Vancouver, BC) continues to play like anything but a rookie. The young setter has played outstanding for the Heat this season in guiding one of the most dynamic offenses in Canada. She received high praise from her coach following the game as she continued her stellar play so far this season.

“Emily has been so solid all season,” said Manuel. “It’s hard to tell she’s a rookie. She made some big plays tonight again.”

However, the Heat really dug themselves a hole at the service line on this night. Seven service errors were committed by UBC Okanagan over the course of the game, killing any momentum the Heat tried to generate.

Emily Carroll (3rd year, Surrey, BC) was able to connect on three service aces in spite of her team’s struggles from the service line; a career high for her.

The Heat played very close with UBC over the evening, but the Thunderbirds made the right plays late in sets to pull away from the Heat.

“For the better part of the match we stayed right with our opponents,” added Manuel. “We pushed them, even with four newcomers in the lineup.”

On the UBC side, the Thunderbirds were led by the two-pronged attack of Shanice Marcelle (5th year, Victoria, BC) and Lisa Barclay (3rd year, Brandon, MB). Marcelle and Barclay would combine for 24 kills and 15 digs, while Marcelle sniped four service aces of her own to combat Carroll’s three.

With the win, the Thunderbirds have won 15 games in a row to vault to 17-1, while the Heat return home 11-7.

The Heat will once again be on the road next weekend, February 1st and 2nd, traveling to frigid Manitoba to duel the Winnipeg Wesmen.

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