Vancouver, BC – The Heat women's volleyball team are still searching for that elusive first win at War Memorial Gym, as they fell in four sets on Friday night to the UBC Thunderbirds in the first of a best-of-three Canada West semifinal series.
First team all-star and all-rookie team member Kiera Van Ryk would be the difference in the match, as the national team member finished with a game-high 17 kills on a .306 hitting percentage. The Heat will now need to win the next two matches in the best-of-three series if they want to have a chance at capturing the programs first Canada West title.
Inside the numbers:
- The Heat offensive was never able to find their rhythm in the match, as they would finish with just 37 kills on a .161 hitting percentage. The T-birds would finish with 56 kills as a team in the match on a hitting percentage of .288.
- Both teams struggled for much of the night from the service line, as Heat and Thunderbirds both have more errors then aces. The Heat would finish with four aces compared to eight errors while the T-birds had nine aces and 17 errors.
- Michelle Jakszuk would lead the way for the visitors, as she had a team-high 11 kills in the match along with eight digs
- Fourth year outside hitter Siobhan Fitzpatrick fell just shy of a double-double on the night, as the Kelowna product had nine kills along with a team-high 11 digs.
First set: 17-25
The hometown Thunderbirds would be in control throughout the first set as took the lead at 4-3 and never relinquished their advantage, eventually winning the set 25-17. The T-birds hit .469 as a team in the first frame thanks to six first set kills from first-team all-star Kiera Van Ryk.
Second set: 25-19
A huge run to close the second set would allow the Heat to tie things up at a set a piece. The visitors would trail 18-15 just past the midway point but three straight Natalie Livingston service aces would get the Heat going. A kill from Kiera Van Ryk would cut the Heat lead to one at 20-19 but Keeley Bell would come off the bench to close out the set from the service line for the Heat.
Third set: 19-25
It would be all T-birds from the start in the third, as they scored nine of the first 11 points in the frame to take a commanding lead in the set. The Heat would cut the deficit to just four at 18-14 following an Ann Richards kill but this would be as close as the visitors would get.
Fourth set: 19-25
The fourth set would be a mirror-image of the third, with the hometown T-birds jumping out to an early lead. The Heat would cut an early six-point deficit down to just two at 11-9 but were never able to get within a point of the Thunderbirds in the final set.
The Heat and Thunderbirds will meet once again tomorrow night in the War Memorial Gym with first serve going at 6 p.m. PST.
~ Oliver Rizun, Heat sports information