Jakszuk’s career night helps Heat to 11th straight win

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File photos for UBC Okanagan Heat athletics

WINNIPEG, MB – The UBC Okanagan Heat women’s volleyball team got their final weekend matchup of the regular season underway in Manitoba on Friday night, with a four set victory against the University of Manitoba Bisons. The win improves their record to 19-4 on the season, and extends their winning streak to a season-high 11 games.

With the exception of the third set, the Heat were the dominant team throughout the match. The 25-11 victory for Manitoba in that third set was the largest differential of the night, but UBCO’s consistency had them on top at the end of the match. Senior outside hitter Michelle Jaksuk would be the difference maker on the night, as the Gibsons product finish with a career-high 20 kills along with 16 digs.

First Set: (25-17)

The Heat doubled up in kills against the Bisons in the first, 14-7. The home side was held to a .033 hitting percentage while UBCO hit .242, with both sides making 6 errors. Michelle Jakszuk was key to the Heat’s advantage in the opener, with five kills and a hitting percentage over .600.

The Heat were ahead through the vast majority of the set, stringing points together consistently and staying well ahead of the Bisons. The one close point in the frame came after Manitoba had a run of their own that brought them within a point at 13-12, but the Heat pulled away from then on and closed it out.

Second Set: (25-20)

The Heat put away an exceptional 22 kills in the second, holding the Bisons to seven once again. Hitting percentages were .500 for UBC Okanagan and .172 for Manitoba. Siobhan Fitzpatrick put away eight kills in the frame, leading the way on the Heat attack.

The set was close through the early stages, as the Heat pulled away by four at most, which was the difference at the media break. After the technical time-out the Bisons had one run of stringing points together, but it wasn’t enough, as the Heat closed out with a pair of kills each from Jakszuk and Fitzpatrick.

Third Set: (11-25)

The Bisons were dominant in the third set, avoiding the sweep with a 14-point victory. They went on an enormous run, scoring 14 consecutive points to jump ahead 23-8. The Heat scored three straight in response, but it was too little too late, as Laura Findlay and Kearley Abbott scored back-to-back kills to put the set away.

Kills were 12-9 for Manitoba, as they held the Heat to a -.024 hitting percentage while hitting .480 themselves. Hitting errors were significant factor, as the Heat made 10 while the Bisons made zero.

Fourth Set: (25-18)

The Heat bounced back in the fourth, and closed out the match win with a seven-point victory. That seven-points difference was reflected in the kills for the set, as the Heat put away 14 and held the Bisons to seven. UBCO hit .184 and held Manitoba in the negative, at -.028.

Neither team could pull away by more than a pair of points through the early stages, as leads were traded around multiple ties. The largest lead in the first half came right at the technical time-out, with the Heat ahead 16-13. From then on, UBCO were able to string points together and kept the Bisons from doing so, and they capitalized on late errors and strong serving to clinch it.

Key Performers:

UBC Okanagan:

Michelle Jakszuk led all hitters on Friday night with a career-high 20 kills, and finished with a hitting percentage of .385. Behind her was Siobhan Fitzpatrick, with 14 kills on .222 hitting. Sara McCreary passed the 40-assist mark once again, finishing with 44.

– Jakszuk was leading the way defensively as well, with 16 digs, while Ann Richards had 10. Erin Drew was the blocks leader, with a team-high four total.

Manitoba:

– Kearley Abbott had a team-high 10 kills for the Bisons, followed by Laura Findlay and Jocelyn Koswin with seven apiece. Brittany Habing was their assists leader, finishing up with 24.

– Cassie Bujan had a match-high 20 digs, while Kearley and Josie Abbott each had 12. Kowsin also finished with a match-high five total blocks.

By the Numbers:

– The Heat finished ahead in nearly every category on the evening. Kills were 59-33, hitting percentages were .220 – .142, service aces were 8-2, digs were 60-58, and assists were 52-30.The Bisons had the edge in total blocks, though, 9-6.

Next Up:

The UBC Okanagan Heat (19-4) and the University of Manitoba Bisons (11-12) will play in their final match of the regular season tomorrow evening, with first serve scheduled for 6:45 PM CST.

~ Grayson B. Leahy, Heat sports information

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