QUEBEC CITY (U SPORTS) – In only their second five set match all season long the UBC Okanagan women’s volleyball team were unable to navigate the deciding set on Friday night at the USPORTS Women’s Volleyball Championship presented by Hotel Universel Quebec.
In the final match of the opening day the 4th seed Ryerson Rams pulled off the comeback and sent the 5th seeded Heat to defeat 3-2 (22-25, 18-25, 25-23, 25-23, 15-8).
Winning 21 conference and post season matches on the season, all 21 of which came in three or four sets, the Heat found themselves all season long in only one match that went the distance. A loss at home in early November to Mount Royal.
With no experience in full length matches UBCO was unable to stop the bleeding as Ryerson took every advantage and came all the way back after losing the first two sets.
By virtue of their win in five sets, the Ontario champions kept their undefeated record intact, after they won all 19 regular season matches and another three in the OUA playoffs.
Ryerson could claim the first medal in program history on Sunday, but will first face off on Saturday against the Calgary Dinos in the national semi-final.
As for the UBC Okanagan Heat, their first trip to nationals will continue in the consolation round, where they will take on the host Laval Rouge et Or.
Coaches comments (UBC Okanagan):
“We had to battle to win the first 2 sets and then they led every set after that,” said Heat boss Steve Manuel. “We battled back from way behind in the 3rd and 4th but made errors. We didn’t really make them (Ryerson) earn those points. And in the 5th set they earned the points they needed. Ryerson is a very good team, very well coached with great athletes. You can’t let them in the door and this is exactly what we did tonight. They fully took advantage of it.”
Players of the Game
Ryerson Rams: Janelle Albert
UBC Okanagan Heat: Michelle Jakszuk
Janelle Albert had 15 kills, an ace and a block assist to earn player-of-the-game honours for the Rams. For the Heat, Michelle Jakszuk earned the nod with 16 kills, a solo block and an assist.
Set 1: 25-22
With UBCO up 9-7, the Rams would go on a five point run to take a 12-9 lead and force an early timeout from head coach Steve Manuel. A strong run from the Heat going into the technical timeout would give them the lead however at 16-15 following three straight points. A huge right-sided swing from Ann Richards would give the team set point at 24-21 and two points later Aidan Lea would put the set away for the Heat from the middle.
Set 2: 25-18
The second set would be highly contested just like the first, with the Heat holding a marginal one point lead going into the technical timeout (16-15). It would be all Heat the rest of the set as they scored the last six points of the frame to gain a two set advantage.
Set 3: 23-25
The Rams would build up a lead in the middle portion of the third set and would hold set point at 24-17. The Heat would not quit however and would score the next six points to cut the deficit to just one at 24-23. A service error from the Kelowna team would follow and Ryerson staved off defeat winning the third 25-23.
Set 4: 23-25
It would be all Ryerson for the majority of the fourth frame as they would build a six point lead at the technical timeout. With the score 22-17, the Heat would mount a comeback and would tie the set up at 22 thanks to a Natalie Livingston service ace. The set would be tied up at 23 all but the Rams scored two straight to force a fifth set.
Set 5: 8-15:
It would all come down to a decisive fifth set in what was just the second five set match the Heat have played all season. With the Rams up 7-6 near the midway point they would gain momentum scoring three straight to build a 10-6 lead. The Heat would bounce back to cut the deficit to just two at 10-8 but Ryerson finished strong scoring the last five points to end the Heats national championship aspirations.
Stat of the match:
UBC Okanagan would hand over 47 points to Ryerson off of errors with 32 attack errors and 15 service errors. Ryerson wasn’t as generous handing over 32 points in the five set match (24 AE, 8 SE).