Richards and Bussard lead Heat to victory over Bobcats
Kelowna, B.C. – Led once again by the combination of Ann Richards and Jade Bussard, the UBC Okanagan Heat would take care of business on Saturday night on their home floor against the Brandon Bobcats in four sets.
Both Richards and Bussard would finish the match with matching double-doubles, Richards with 15 kills and 10 digs, while the rookie Bussard finished with 13 and 13.
The Heat had the advantage from the start, capturing the opening two sets by 25-20 and 25-23 scorelines. Brandon pushed the home team in the third, including staving off a match point and then the ‘Cats would push the match into a fourth set.
UBCO would not be denied of their second win of the season on the night as they closed the fourth extremely well to win the match.
Nikala Majewski continued her strong play for Brandon with 20 kills and eight digs on the night while Michelle Egger chipped in with 10 kills of her own.
Brandon drops their record to 3-7 in a losing effort in the UBC Okanagan gym.
Heat head coach Steve Manuel noted his team is starting to put things together and learning to close out games. “The team’s doing the right things, the players are working as hard as they possibly can out there. I’ve always said as a coach the hardest thing to teach is how to win, so for us we have a lot of changes, even after the season started. Winning is huge and we’re starting to get a sense of how to win.”
The match would once again come down to hitting percentage, as the Heat committed six fewer attack errors then the visitors (19-25) which led to a much better attack percentage (.221 – .142).
Three Jade Bussard service aces early in the first set would give the Heat the lead as they scored six straight going into the media timeout after trailing early on. They would make it eight straight points in a row following timeout and this large lead would be enough for them to close out the opener 25-19.
The momentum would continue for the Heat to open the second as they built at 16-9 lead midway through the set but the ‘Cats would not go away, pushing the set right till the end. A big swing from Nikala Majewski cut the deficit to just one for Brandon at 24-23 but rookie Jade Bussard shut the door on the set with a clutch kill.
With multiple lead changes in the third frame, the two teams would never gain any separation from each other as it once again came down to the wire. The Heat had an opportunity at match point (24-23) but Nicole Ashauer tied things up and two Brandon points later enabled them to extend the match to a fourth set.
It was all UBCO from the start in the fourth as they scored the opening five points of the set to build an early lead but once again Brandon would not go away, tying things up at 15 later on. Neither team had more then a two point advantage the rest of the frame, with the Heat coming up big down the stretch. Aidan Lea would close out the match for the home team at 25-23 in the fourth on a quick middle attack.
The Heat (2-8) will take to the road for their final action prior to the Christmas break as they take on the Saskatchewan Huskies (2-7) in Saskatoon next weekend. Brandon (3-7) will continue their road trip against the Manitoba Bisons (3-7) in Winnipeg prior to their Christmas break.
Heat unable to cool down Bobcats attack in three set loss
A career night from rookie outside hitter Cam Vanderveen was not enough as the Heat dropped their Saturday night match to the No. 4 ranked Brandon Bobcats in three sets.
Vanderveen finished with a game-high 19 kills which is a new career-high for the right side, surpassing his previous total of 11 from two games ago against Mount Royal.
The Heat were unable to get on track all night as the No. 4 ranked team in the latest U SPORTS rankings would hit an astonishing .367 in the match.
With the victory the Bobcats improve their record to 8-2, while UBCO see their record drop to 0-10 as the schedule nears the Semester break.
With set scores of 25-17, 25-19 and 25-16, the ‘Cats were in control from the first serve and the Heat were never able to put much pressure on one of the top teams in the country.
For Brandon, it was Robin Baghdady doing most the damage, from his spot in the middle he had 14 kills on just 25 total attacks. Seth Friesen also finished in double-figures with 11 kills on the night.
The ‘Cats would finish with more total kills (43-33), digs (39-32), service aces (4-0) and total blocks (8-3).
Brad Hudson postgame comments:
“I like playing these type of high-quality teams, I think that’s how you grow and evolve and that’s how you’re challenged. I don’t think we’ve been able to compete consistently the way we could have had we been healthy early in the season. If you look at that last set we had three second-year kids and two rookies on the floor, I think those guys can help us win now.”
It was a strong start to the match for the Bobcats as they took the early lead (16-11) at the first set media timeout and were able to cruise the rest of the opening set, eventually winning by a 25-17 scoreline.
Four of the opening five points went the ‘Cats way in the second and once again they built a 16-11 lead at the midway point of the frame. The Heat score three straight points late in the set but it was not enough as Brandon won the second 25-19.
Brad Hudson decided to go with his young lineup in the third, starting nearly all freshman and sophomores, but once again it was the Bobcats who took control. The Heat would get as close as 17-13 in the frame but were unable to gain any serious momentum against the potent Bobcats attack.
The Heat (0-10) will hit the road for their final two games before the Christmas break against the Saskatchewan Huskies (4-6) in Saskatoon. Brandon (8-2) will travel to Winnipeg to face off with the Manitoba Bisons (4-6) in their final action before the break as well.