Edmonton, AB – The UBC women’s volleyball team fell to the University of Alberta Pandas in the Canada West Semi Final tonight in Edmonton. It took five sets to decide who would advance to the Canada West Gold medal game in this marathon match. Final set scores were 30-28, 19-25-19, 22-25, 25-18 and 15-11 in favour of the Pandas.

The first set was a taste of the long battle to come. The teams were evenly matched throughout the set, although U of A did manage to put up a modest lead late in the set until UBC tied things up at 23 points apiece. From this moment on however, the two teams traded points until finally the Pandas were able to put their guests away thanks to a kill by Josephine Doerfler, an ace from Dione Lang and an unforced error from the T-Birds to win 30-28.

The tone was different throughout the second and third sets, as UBC came out of the gates looking much more confident. They never trailed in the second set, beating their hosts convincingly, and only faltered briefly in the third before going ahead of the Pandas 2-1 thanks to capitalizing on a series of errors from their hosts.

Thanks to a late run in the fourth which had the Pandas take six of the last seven points of the set, the T-birds went down 25-18 to tie the sets at 2-2. Unfortunately for UBC, they couldn’t harness the momentum they needed for the fifth set, and the Pandas took them down 15-11, ending with two kills from Doerfler to seal the deal.

“There was a lot of good play on both sides of the net,” said UBC head coach Doug Reimer. “I give Alberta credit for their good play down the stretch. On our end I think we missed an opportunity in the first set.  We were playing some great volleyball but missed eight serves. But I find no fault with our effort and I thought all three of our fifth  year players led the way with great energy and heart.”

UBC’s record in five sets matches this season falls to 4-and-9.

Rosie Schlagintweit led UBC in kills tonight with 15, followed closely by Lisa Barclay with 14 and Danielle Brisebois with 12. Schlagintweit once again proved herself to be an asset on both offense and defense as she also led the team in digs this evening with 18.

For the Pandas, it was Meg Casault who shone this evening on offense, putting up the most kills of anyone on the floor with 17. Her teammates Josephine Doerfler and Kacey Otto also made significant contributions with 13 kills each.  Jessie Niles was strong on defence with 23 digs throughout the course of the match.

UBC still have a shot at a ticket to the CIS Nationals as they will play in the bronze medal game tomorrow evening against UBC Okanagan. The top three teams of Final Four will advance to Nationals in Toronto.

The bronze medal game takes place tomorrow at 3:30 pm (PT).