SASKATOON – The No. 2 ranked UBC Okanagan Heat won three straight sets en route to the 3-1 (23-25, 25-23, 25-12, 25-19) victory against the University of Saskatchewan Huskies Saturday night on Ron & Jane Graham Centre Court at the PAC.
After dropping the opening set, the Heat took the next three straight to avoid the weekend split. They improved their conference record to 14-4, and remain comfortably in a top-half playoff position in the Canada West standings.
First Set: (23-25)
The Heat out-hit the Huskies in the first, as kills were 14-10. Each side finished with a hitting percentage of .200. Errors were the difference, though, as the Heat committed seven attacking errors.
The early part of the opening set had the Heat ahead, and were up as many as five points, but they were up just one at the technical time-out. They looked safe with a 23-19 lead, but the Huskies stormed back with six straight points to take the opener.
Second Set: (25-23)
The Heat got their first set win of the night behind 15 kills and a .211 hitting percentage, while holding the Huskies to just eight on .129. The error numbers were the same as the first, but the power of the Heat hitters gave them the win to tie the match up.
The second was tight in the early stages, but the Heat strung together back-to-back runs of five and seven points to pull ahead 19-9. The Huskies again were impressive late, stringing together five straight points to make it 23-21, but the Heat capitalized on late Saskatchewan mistakes to close it out.
Third Set: (25-17)
The Heat hit an outstanding .419 attacking percentage in the third, and put away 15 kills while the Huskies hit just .098 and had 13. With just two errors compared to the Huskies’ nine, consistency was the Heat’s strength in the win.
The Heat were ahead early in the third, and never let up. They jumped ahead 12-7 at one point, and held on to the five-point lead into the technical time-out. Another late push by the Huskies shortened the differential as the Heat closed in on the win, but a pair of kills helped close it out for the road team as they took a 2-1 lead into the fourth.
Fourth Set: (25-19)
With 17 kills and a hitting percentage of .297, the Heat again outclassed the Huskies, who had 10 on .095.
The Heat kept the Huskies from stringing points together throughout the first half of the fourth, as they jumped out to a 16-9 lead at the break. Saskatchewan were able to put a run together late, but of just three points, and it wasn’t enough to keep the Heat within reach. With the final two points provided by Richards and Lea, the Heat closed out another win.
Siobhan Fitzpatrick led the way in kills for the Heat (17), followed by Michelle Jakszuk (14), Ann Richards (12), and Aidan Lea (12). Sara McCreary finished with 47 assists, while Fitzpatrick, Richards, and Erin Drew each finished with a pair of service aces.
Jakszuk led the Heat with 14 digs, and tied Drew for the team-high in total blocks with three apiece.
Carissa Noble had eight kills for the Huskies for a team-high. Emily Koshinsky, Regan Wiebe, and Taylor Annala each had seven. Mackenzie Pek had 25 assists.
Koshinsky and Annala were also their leaders in digs, with nine each. Marguerite Ferguson had a match-high six total blocks.
By the Numbers:
The Heat finished ahead in kills (61-41), hitting percentage (.277 – .125), assists (59-36), and digs (67-47).
The Huskies had the edge in service aces (7-6) and in total blocks (9-6).
The UBC Okanagan Heat (14-4) will be at home in Kelowna next weekend, when they host the Winnipeg Wesmen (1-17) on February 2 & 3.
On those same days the Saskatchewan Huskies (9-11) will be in Edmonton to take on the University of Alberta Pandas (9-9).
~ Grayson B. Leahy, Heat Sports Information; with notes from Tanner Michalenko, Saskatchewan Sports Information Student Assistant