KELOWNA, British Columbia – In what will go down as one of the most drama-filled regular season matches in UBC Okanagan, the No. 1 Trinity Western women’s volleyball team recovered from a 2-0 deficit to win a fifth and deciding set 19-17 for a 3-2 (29-31, 19-25, 25-20, 29-27, 19-17) win over the No.
5 Heat Friday.
A wild night started with the Spartans dropping the first two sets before rallying to win the third set and force a fourth. Then, in the fourth set, TWU was forced to rally again as they trailed 20-11 and then 24-21 only to come all the way back to win 29-27 and send the match to a fifth set.
With momentum on their side, the Spartans went up 7-2 fifth, but the Heat rallied and once again had the Spartans on the ropes, up 14-12. However, with TWU’s Casie Gano (Sundre, Alta.) serving and putting pressure on the Heat reception, the Spartans came back one more time to eventually win the fifth set 19-17.
This is the second match in a row that the Spartans have rallied from a 2-0 deficit as they had to do the same last Saturday against Thompson Rivers. Trinity Western maintains its throne with a 3-0 clean slate while UBC Okanagan is now 1-2 for the season.
“It felt like we were in control, but we couldn’t finish,” said rookie Okanagan libero Sophia Furlan (Calgary, Alta.). “But we put up so much fight … it was just unfortunate that we missed a couple of plays here and there. On the bench we were going crazy because of the great volleyball that was happening tonight, and it was just unfortunate that we missed a couple of plays here and there.”
The core battle was between the middle blockers, as both the Heat’s Katy Klomps (4th year, Surrey, B.C.) and TWU’s Alicia Perrin (5th year, Creston, B.C.) put up two solo blocks and seven block assists apiece, each coming up clutch in momentum-shifting moments of the match.
Perrin was second on her squad with 12 kills (.233%) behind Sophie Carpentier (Ottawa, Ont.) who finished with 19 kills and 13 digs. Royal Richardson (Rocky Mountain House, Alta.) had a team-high 15 digs to go with 11 kills. Setter Nikki Cornwall (Coquitlam, B.C.) had a match-high 47 assists.
Fourth-year outside hitter Brianna Beamish (Surrey, B.C.) led the UBCO charge, as she racked up a game-high 21 kills. UBC Okanagan’s other middle Katie Wuttunee (North Vancouver, B.C.) was second on the team with 12 kills, Megan Festival finished with 12 as well.
The matchup was billed as a showcase of heavyweights and the teams did not disappoint as the entire night would display a truly elite level of CIS volleyball. Both teams regularly traded punches and would need extra points to determine several sets.
“On [our] bench we were going crazy because of the great volleyball that was happening tonight,” said Furlan of the intensity of the battle happening on the hardwood.
It was a bitter pill to swallow for the Heat, who were hoping to avenge their 2014 Final Four bronze medal match defeat against the very same Spartans.
Dwindling offensive production as the match went on would give the Heat a hard time in sealing the deal. They came out with 20 and 16 kills in the first and second sets, only to see those numbers decline to 10 and eight in the third and fourth sets.
Both teams are back at each other again tomorrow night for the second of their back-to-back this weekend. Match time is set for 5 p.m.
Game Notes: TWU hit .180 as a team compared to UBCO, who hit .129…TWU had 19 to UBCO’s 12…both teams had six aces.