UBCO women get first win of 2014, split with Alberta
The UBCO Okanagan Heat recorded their first win of 2014 in Canada West women's volleyball in the opening match, then settled for a weekend split with the Alberta Pandas.
Steve Manuel's Heat, which lost its first four games of the New Year, rebounded on Friday night at the UBCO campus with a tough five-set win (24-26, 26-24, 25-15, 21-25, 15-13).
Trailing 11-5 in the deciding set, the Heat battled back for the win.
"I totally commend our team, and how we fought back after being down like that and never giving up," said head coach Steve Manuel. "That's our team. They never give up."
Megan Festival rattled off five straight tough serves that put the Pandas on their heels, and render them unable to get a quality pass off, Alberta's offense deteriorated into a string of free-ball attempts.
Player of the game Breanna Beamish had 12 kills for UBCO, Katy Klomps added 12 kills, six digs and five block assists, while Lenai Schmidt tallied 24 digs.
On Saturday, Alberta answered back with an emphatic 3-0 verdict (25-15, 25-21, 25-15).
Klomps had eight kills and two total blocks for UBC Okanagan.
The Heat, now 11-7, will visit Manitoba next weekend in a crucial series as the teams are currently tied for fourth in Canada West.
"It's not going to stop," said Manuel, referencing the Heat's strength of schedule over the past few weeks. Manuel indicated that he is fortunate that his team has built up somewhat of a cushion and because of that they’re not in panic mode.
The UBCO men came up empty in their weekend set with the Alberta Golden Bears to slip to 4-14 on the season.
On Friday, the Heat succumbed to the Bears in straight sets (25-20, 25-14, 25-17).
"I just think we had an off night," said Heat fifth-year Nate Speijer. "Alberta came in playing great volleyball, and we just had a hard time matching it."
Speijer did all he could for the Heat, hitting .304 behind 12 kills on 23 attempts.
On Saturday, a better start for the Heat but the same end result in a 3-1 loss (25-17, 25-27, 25-13, 25-22).
Speijer had 18 more kills for a weekend total of 30, while Lars Bornemann who had 10 kills and three digs.
This weekend, the Heat will travel to Winnipeg for two matches with the Manitoba Bisons.