CALGARY – The UBC Okanagan Heat women's volleyball team lost a tough three-set match against the Canada West #1 Calgary Dinos on Friday evening. Coming into the match the Heat and Dinos were tied atop the conference, but with the rare shutout of the Heat, the Dinos stand alone at the top pending the final of the matchup at Mount Royal between the Cougars and the UBC Thunderbirds.
The final set of the match was the most closely contested, with the Heat pushing the Dinos well into extra points before giving up the win. The difference on the night was the play at the net, as the Dinos' blockers were dominant and the home side's hitters had the advantage, knocking off the Heat's normally dominant middles and power hitters.
First Set: (25-18)
The Dinos broke out early in the opening frame, scoring five straight to pull ahead 8-4. They followed that up with another run of five straight, to go ahead 12-6, and were ahead 16-9 at the technical time-out after scoring three more consecutive points.
After the break the Heat scored consecutive points just once, putting together a run of five after the Dinos had earned set point. That run brought the Heat within six, down 24-18, but the Dinos were able to close it out and go up 1-0 in the match.
Second Set: (25-22)
The Heat were the ones with the early lead in the second. Down 4-2, the visitors strung together six straight to go ahead 8-4. The Dinos responded with runs of three and four points, to tie it up at 12. At the technical time-out, Calgary were ahead 16-15.
The teams traded leads after the break, until the Dinos scored four straight to go ahead 24-21, and capitalized on a Heat serving mistake to take the second set and go ahead 2-0 in the match.
Third Set: (31-29)
The closest of the three sets on Friday night, the third went way past the regular 25 points necessary to win. Closely contested all the way through, the teams traded leads throughout the early stages, and it took a five-point run for the Heat to pull ahead 16-13 at the technical time-out.
After the break the Dinos strung together five straight of their own, going ahead 20-17. Three straight in response from the Heat tied it up at 20-20, and forced a Calgary time-out. After the Dinos went ahead 22-21, the teams traded the next 15 points, the Dinos were able to earn another match-point on a Heat error, before closing out the match on a kill from Kate Pexman.
Siobhan Fitzpatrick was the most successful attacker of the match for the Heat, putting down 14 kills on a hitting percentage of .364. Michelle Jakszuk had the second-most Heat kills with eight, and hit .115 on the night. Aidan Lea and Erin Drew each had five kills.
Beth Vinnell had 11 kills in the match, Calgary's team-high. Behind her in hitting were Brianna Solberg, with nine kills, along with Kate Pexman and Jaylynn Moffatt, who each finished with seven.
Pexman also had a defensive team-high, finishing with 16 digs. The best blocker of the night for the Dinos was Vinnell, who had eight total blocks.
By the Numbers:
Calgary were the better team statistically on Friday night. Their blockers made the biggest difference, with total blocks being 23-11.5 for the Dinos in the match. Digs rounded out the home team's defensive advantage, with the Heat just behind in the match, 49-48.
Offensively, the Dinos out-killed the Heat 42-39, and had the better attacking percentage (.195 - .129).
Service aces had the Dinos up 7-5, assists were 36-33 in favour of UBCO, and service errors were 6-9 with the Heat on the unfortunate end of that stat.
The next matches for both teams will not come until the new year, as Friday night's match was the last conference contest scheduled for 2017.
The UBC Okanagan Heat (8-4) will have their next matches against the University of Alberta Pandas (5-5), as they get their schedules back underway in 2018 on January 5 & 6 in Kelowna.
The Calgary Dinos (10-2) have their bye week on the first weekend of play in 2018, and so will play their next matches on January 12 & 13 at home against the Brandon Bobcats (7-5).
~ Grayson B. Leahy, Heat Sports Information