by Cary Mellon
January 18, 2014, LANGLEY, BC (ISN) – The uncharacteristic play that plagued the Heat in their series versus UBC seemed to carry over into their contest versus Trinity Western Friday evening, as the fifth-ranked Spartans dispatched the fourth-ranked visiting UBC Okanagan Heat in women’s volleyball action 3-0 (25-9, 25-18, 25-23).
“Our opponents have played well over these past three matches,” 13-year head coach of the Heat Steve Manuel iterated post-game. “We knew the start of our second semester would not be easy – that’s Canada West volleyball.”
By far the largest contributing factor to the Spartan’s victory on this night was their ability to neutralize the Heat block and apply heavy pressure to the Heat back-row. Katie Wuttunee (3rd year, North Vancouver, BC) and Katy Klomps (3rd year, Surrey, BC) were only able to muster 3.5 total blocks over the course of the three sets, and the exposed Heat back-row had difficulty slowing the Spartan offense. Lenai Schmidt (5th year, Vernon, BC) did all she could with nine dig attempts in the game, but her supporting back-row cast struggled to get quality passes off to setter Emily Oxland (2nd year, North Vancouver, BC). As a team, the Heat were out-dug 37-29 over the three-set match.
An inability to get a quality first touch on the ball had a spill-over effect on the Heat offense as well, and UBC Okanagan struggled to mount an offensive attack over the majority of the three sets. The Heat’s offensive woes were further exacerbated by that of Spartan middle Alicia Perrin, who was dominant defensively for Trinity Western, providing 6 block assists and 1 solo block in the game. As a result of both strong play defensively from Perrin and an inability to set up a fluid offense, Brianna Beamish (3rd year, Surrey, BC), Kaitlynn Given (2nd year, Kelowna, BC), and Megan Festival (2nd year, Calgary, AB) were only able to connect on a combined nine kills in three sets. Meanwhile, Sophie Carpentier connected on 12 kills of her own for Trinity Western.
“We are just in a slump right now, and we can’t seem to get anything rolling our way,” added Manuel. “We just need to get back to playing our style of volleyball, especially at the net.”
The win sees Trinity Western improve to 11-5 to assume third place in the Canada West conference from the Heat, who are now 10-5 and on a three-game losing skid.
The Heat will look to exact revenge and win their first game of 2014 tomorrow evening, returning to the Langley Events Centre to face the Trinity Western Spartans. The first set is scheduled for 5 p.m.