Saturday night the Heat were unable to match Friday’s energy and left Edmonton with a weekend split as they fell in four 3-1 (25-22, 21-25, 25-10, 25-21) to the Preseason No. 1 Alberta Pandas.
Women’s Volleyball (Canada West conference play)
Saturday, October 11th, 2014 BOX SCORE | SCHEDULE & RESULTS
Saville Sports Centre, Edmonton, AB
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EDMONTON, AB – Just 18 hours after storming back on the Alberta Pandas on their home court for a five set victory, the UBC Okanagan Heat women’s volleyball team were unable to contain the preseason favorites from Edmonton as they settled for a split, after losing 3-1 (25-22, 21-25, 25-10 and 25-21) on Saturday evening at the Saville Community Sports Centre.
Even though the Heat lost the rematch head coach Steve Manuel, in his 14th season manning the UBC Okanagan women’s volleyball squad, checked off the weekend as a success.
“To sum things up it was a very good weekend,” Manuel says about the split in Edmonton against a team he had never beaten before on their home court. “We had limited preseason play and with a couple of injuries early on it was the first time we had everyone in the lineup. Our squad showed incredible resilience on Friday and fought to the end. We will take the split on the road against a tough Pandas team.”
“Bottom line,” finishes Manuel “is that we played the number one team in Canada in their gym and came away with a split.”
The win improves the Pandas to a 1-1 record, while UBC Okanagan falls to 1-1.
One night earlier, the Heat blazed back from a 2-0 deficit against Alberta to win 3-2. The Pandas even held a 24-20 score line in the fourth set on Friday, but couldn’t get the point to win the match.
Different story on Saturday for both teams.
Alberta took the opening set, 25-22, but UBC Okanagan stormed back to tie the match 1-1 thanks to a 25-21 second set win.
The Pandas, determined not to go the route of Friday, took care of business in the third set, winning 25-10.
In the fourth, although Alberta once again built up a comfortable lead, the Heat slowly and surely began chipping away. And, just like on Friday night, the Heat found themselves down 24-20, and down 2-1 in the match, but after UBC Okanagan earned one more point, the Pandas were able to put an end to the match, defeating UBC Okanagan 25-21 and 3-1 overall.
The Heat were paced by Megan Festival’s 15 kills, but also received 12 from Katie Wuttunee. Brianna Beamish, who had 21 kills on Friday night, finished with nine on Saturday as many on UBC Okanagan were not as sharp in the rematch as the quick turnaround so early in the season may have played to the home team’s favour.
“We battled until 10 p.m. last night so we canceled our 9 a.m. practice,” explains Manuel. “We haven’t played the same players on back to back days so far this year and we are still figuring out our best combination of players.,” he added in regards to his team’s discord at points during the match. “We also struggled from the service line tonight and just could not get into any kind of rhythm.”
Meg Casault, like she did on Friday, led the way for Alberta, this time with 17 kills. A second team CIS all-Canadian last season, Casault now has 35 kills through the opening two games of the 2014-15 season. Fifth-year middle Dione Lang also had a strong game, banking 11 kills, and a .429 attacking percentage. Kacey Otto also picked up 11 kills in the match, while Josephine Doerfler recorded eight kills and a match high three aces.
Alberta returns to action next weekend, October 17-18, when they travel to Saskatoon to take on the Saskatchewan Huskies.
UBC Okanagan returns home next weekend to host the Trinity Western Spartans for their 2014-15 conference opener, and the first chance for the Kelowna fans to see their final-four team in action, as their entire exhibition was played on the road.
Friday night the first serve is set for 6 p.m. and Saturday at 5 p.m. with both games played on the hardwood in the gym at UBC Okanagan.
~ with notes from Alberta Sports Information.