by Cary Mellon
February 9, 2014, KELOWNA, BC (ISN) – Facing In the final game of the regular season, the women’s volleyball teams from Regina and UBC Okanagan needed all five sets to decided a victor, with the Cougars emerging from the slug-fest with the narrow 3-2 (25-16, 23-25, 25-23, 25-27, 15-9) victory Saturday evening.
Both Regina and UBC Okanagan now sit with identical 12-10 records, and unfortunately for the Heat, Regina owns the sets won/sets lost tiebreaker, meaning the Heat will travel to Brandon, MB to face the Bobcats in the first round of the Canada West playoffs. Regina, meanwhile, will make the journey to Langley, BC to face the Trinity Western Spartans.
For the second consecutive night, it would be the second-year outside hitter Megan Festival (Calgary, AB) providing the majority of the UBC Okanagan offense, tallying 14 kills to put her weekend total at 31 for the Heat. Behind Festival, Katy Klomps (3rd year, Surrey, BC) was an effective 9-19 from the middle for a .474 kill percentage. She would add 4 of the Heat’s 15 total teams blocks as well, and UBC Okanagan would out-dig their opponents by a margin of four.
Defensively, Lenai Schmidt (5th year, Vernon, BC) was rock solid with 18 total digs. Numerous times she came up with critical digs in extended rallies to keep her club in the point – the biggest of which came at 16-17 in the fourth set to help her team tie it up at 17-17.
It was an emotional roller-coaster of a match to say the least, especially post-game, as it was Seniors Night at UBC’s Okanagan campus gymnasium. The Heat’s three graduating players, Jillian Festival (Calgary, AB), Kendra Wayling (Castlegar, BC), and Lenai Schmidt (5th year, Vernon, BC) were honoured after the game for the contributions they have made to the program over their time at UBC Okanagan. LINK TO FEATURE ON SENIORS
With the regular season now over, the Heat will set their sights on their first-round playoff match-up versus the Bobcats. The Heat were unable to earn a victory over Brandon in their regular season meeting on November 8th and 9th, but Kendra Wayling and her squad are looking forward to the rematch.
“I can’t wait to get another shot [at Brandon],” said Kendra Wayling post-game. “It will be fun to try and take it to them again.”
Lenai Schmidt felt the same way when asked about the first-round match-up versus Brandon.
“We just need to get back to playing our game,” said Schmidt. “I’m looking forward to the chance to redeem ourselves.”
The first game between the Heat and Bobcats will commence on Thursday, February 13th at the HLC at 5 p.m. PST. The second game of the series will follow on Friday, February 14th at 5 p.m. PST as well. If necessary, the third and final game of the series will be held Saturday, February 15th at 5 p.m. PST.