Champs unseated by the Heat in straight sets in match one of first round

By Kevin Ilomin on February 13, 2015

Home court win for UBC Okanagan in Game 1 of CW Quarter-final.

Home court win for UBC Okanagan in Game 1 of CW Quarter-final.

Six blocks from first-team all-star Klomps powers the No.

2 Heat to victory in the first match of a best-of-three with the defending CIS national champion Manitoba Bisons Friday night in Kelowna. The second match of the quarterfinal bout is tomorrow at 5 p.m.

Women’s Volleyball (Canada West postseason play)

Friday, February 13th, 2015           BOX SCORESCHEDULE & RESULTS
UBC Okanagan Gymnasium, Kelowna, BC

(2) UBC Okanagan
FINAL 1 2 3 T
Manitoba (13-11 CW, 0-1 PS) 22 23 13 0
UBC Okanagan (19-5 CW, 1-0 PS) 25 25 25 3

KELOWNA, B.C. – Every playoff matchup in Canada West is a battle of heavyweights, and this one was no exception as the UBC Okanagan Heat put on a show Friday night alongside the defending national champion Manitoba Bisons Friday night in Kelowna, with the No. 2 Kelowna squad capturing the 3-0 match sweep (25-22, 25-23, 25-13).

The imposing and impenetrable wall of the Heat defense at the net wound up being too much for the Bisons, even with the unstoppable force of Canada West regular-season MVP Rachel Cockrell (Winnipeg, MB) putting in a match high 20 kills (.327). UBC Okanagan as a whole held Manitoba to a hitting percentage of .117.

Canada West First-Team All-Star Katy Klomps (Surrey, BC) had a match-high six blocks to go with her seven kills. The mark is one block shy of the all-time single-match regular season record of 11 held by Klomps in a tie with Alexa Berton (formerly of Alberta) and Emily Erickson (formerly of Manitoba).

Manitoba came out swinging first in the opening set, powered by a monster performance by Cockrell to the technical break first off 16-13. Out of the timeout the Heat rallied for five straight points to take the lead. A neck-and-neck fight would ensue until fourth-year outside Brianna Beamish put down the sealing kill for the Heat to take the frame 25-22.

The second set played out similarly, with the Bisons out to an early start before the Heat took over again out of the technical break. Cockrell would serve up four tough rallies to even things out 20-20, but some excellent serving pressure ended up pulling the Heat ahead in the ensuing rallies, punctuated by a service ace from Katie Wuttunee (North Vancouver, BC) to take the second set 25-23.

An 11-2 run early in the third got the Heat to the technical break 16-7, and the rest of the set would likewise belong to them as they coasted 25-13 to take the set and the match.

“I liked how we played tough tonight,” explained Heat coach Steve Manuel following the match. “[Manitoba] came out like we thought, gangbusters, and they executed very well and kept us off-balance for the first two-thirds of the match.

UBC Okanagan utilized a balanced attack on offense as setter Chandler Proch (Kelowna, BC) orchestrated the attack with 29 assists in the starting role. The Heat shot at a .330 clip for the night.

“I [also liked] how we kept calm, we dug in, and we found ways to get it done, just that team effort … it was key,” Manuel also went on to say.

Beamish wrapped up with a team-high 14 kills (.393). Megan Festival (Calgary, AB) and Kailin Jones (Kelowna, BC) dug up 12 and 13 balls, respectively, spearheading an excellent backcourt defensive effort as their team recorded 54 digs.

Both teams served well, but the Bisons would torque in a few more aces with six total to the Heat’s three, with three coming in from Jordana Milne (Winnipeg, MB).

Libero Caleigh Dobie (Winnipeg, MB) and setter Brittany Habing (East St. Paul, MB) of the Bisons had 12 and 11 digs, respectively.

Coming into the weekend UBC Okanagan owned the series victory 2-0, winning back-to-back at home in November.

UBC Okanagan takes a 1-0 lead in the quarterfinals series with Manitoba. Both teams will play a second and potentially final match Saturday at 5 p.m. PST in the UBC Okanagan gymnasium.

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