Kelowna, B.C. – In what was one of the most exciting games of the Heat season, the fifth ranked UBC Okanagan women’s volleyball team would battle to a four set win against the eighth ranked Alberta Pandas on Saturday night in the UBC Okanagan gym. With the win, the Heat improve to 10-4 on the season, while the Pandas fall to 7-7.
After the home team dropped the first set to the Pandas, they won the second and third to have a chance to close it out. The fourth set was the most dramatic set of the match, as both teams would have chances to win. The Heat would eventually close it out (27-25) thanks to a service ace from Skye Thompson and a big block from Erin Drew on match point.
– Siobhan Fitpatrick and Michelle Jakszuk led the team with 16 kills a piece. Jakszuk came off a career-high on Friday night and did not dissapoint on Saturday. Fitzpatrick also recorded double-double as she had 15 digs as well.
– Sara McCreary continued to play well for the Heat as she had 44 assists. McCreary came into the game leading the conference in assists per set at 10.63.
– Fourth year libero Sophia Furlan had 15 digs on the night, her fourth best total of the season so far.
– Julia Zonneveld had a team-high 13 kills on the night along with six digs
– Erin Corbett played well for the Pandas, as she had 12 kills along with a game-high 19 kills.
First set (23-25)
The visiting Pandas came out strong in the opening set, and after four straight points, would lead 10-5 and force a timeout. This lead would expand throughout the set until it was a 19-12 lead for Alberta. The Heat would make a late run in the set however, scoring 10 of the next 12 points to take the lead at 22-21. Alberta would score three straight to to have set point, but Aidan Lea would keep the opening set alive with a kill from Sara McCreary. One point later, Erin Corbett finished off the opening frame with the assist going to Julia Zonneveld.
Second set (25-22)
The two teams would play a very even second set, with neither team gaining more then a three-point advantage early on. At the technical timeout, the Heat would trail 16-15 after a kill from second year student Kory White. The points the followed the technical timeout proved to be the turning point of the set, as UBCO scored five straight, including a kill from setter Sara McCreary to take the 20-16 lead. This lead would dwindle down however, as Alberta came back with a run of their own to eventually tie up the game 22-22. Back to back kills from Michelle Jakszuk would give the Heat set point, and an attack error from Alberta would be enough for the Heat to capture the set.
Third set (25-18)
The beginning of the third set was closely contested just like the second, however midway through the Heat would find their rhythm on offense. The offense would hit .333 in the third, their best mark of the entire match thanks to 16 kills in the set. Trailing 12-10, the home team would real off six straight points featuring kills from Aidan Lea, Michelle Jakszuk, Siobhan Fitzpatrick and Sara Mcreary. This deficit proved to be too much to overcome for the visitors as they would eventually fall in the third.
Fourth set (27-25)
The fourth set would go back and forth throughout, with both teams looking to have the advantage at some point in the set. Early on it was the Heat who were on their A-game, as they scored six of the first seven points in the set to lead 6-1. Three straight points not long after from Alberta would cut the home teams lead to just two at 9-7.
This two point lead was maintained until four straight points from Alberta gave them a 17-16 just after the technical timeout, and forced Steve Manuel to call timeout. The Heat responded well, a Michelle Jakszuk kill would tie the game up and following an error from the visitors the Heat led 18-17. The Pandas would fight back however, and after four straight points, would lead 22-20. Three straight Heat points gave them the lead once again at 23-22.
Erin Corbett would tie the game up and following a service ace from the Pandas, they had a chance to force a fifth set. Aidan Lea kept the set alive for UBCO and Skye Thompson would come off the bench to score a service ace to give the Heat match point. At 25-24, both teams went back and forth in what was the most exciting points of the match. It resulted in a kill from Emma Kieftenbeld to keep the match alive.
Inside the numbers:
– The Heat would have the advantage over the visitors in total kills (58-46), hitting percentage (.204-.151), service aces (7-3) and digs (71-67)
– The win gives the Heat a record of 10-4 on the season, as they look to consolidate their top four position in the Canada West as the playoffs near.
The Heat (10-4) will have a bye week next week before they are back in action on the road against Brandon (7-5) Jan. 19th and 20th. The Pandas will continue their road trip next weekend when they travel Highway 2 to Calgary to face the Mount Royal Cougars (5-8).
~ Oliver Rizun, Heat sports information