If their first meeting of the season proved anything, it’s that the UBC Okanagan Heat and Trinity Western Spartans are as evenly matched as two teams can be.
In a showdown of the top two women’s volleyball team in the country, the No. 1 Spartans and the No. 2 Heat split two matches in Langley right down the middle—TWU winning in five sets on Friday night, and UBCO rebounding for a five-set win on Saturday.
Both teams are 18-2, while the Spartans and Heat also have identical win-loss records in terms of sets at 58-15.
On Friday, TWU prevailed (21-25, 25-23, 25-23, 20-25, 15-10).
The Heat was led by outside hitter Megan Festival with 14 kills, 15 digs and four aces. Katie Wuttunee added 13 kills while Brianna Beamish had 11. Erin Drew had a match-high seven blocks, Kailin Jones added 14 digs, and Emily Oxland had 32 assists.
On Saturday, the Heat battled back from a set down to win 3-2 (25-23, 19-25, 20-25, 25-18, 15-7).
UBC Okanagan was led offensively by Kaitlynn Given, who had 15 kills, while Megan Festival and Brianna Beamish each had 12.
Setter Chandler Proch, who ignited the Heat off the bench, had 16 assists over the last two sets.
Head coach Steve Manuel praised his team’s effort and willingness to fight through adversity.
“We’ve been battling injury and illness, but there was not a single excuse from one single athlete, they are warriors,” said Manuel, who called the split
“as big as last weekend’s sweep of UBC.”
The Heat will head to Edmonton this weekend at take on the Grant MacEwan Griffins.
The UBCO men came up empty in a pair of weekend matches against Trinity Western to slip to 3-17 on the Canada West season.
On Friday in Langley, the Spartans rolled to a 3-0 in (25-21, 25-15, 25-14).
Kyle Pankratz had a team-high of seven kills for the Heat while Jim Bell added six kills, eight digs and three blocks.
On Saturday, the Heat was swept again (25-23, 25-16, 25-20).
Lars Bornemann had seven kills and 10 digs to lead the Heat, while Bell added six kills and three blocks.
The Heat will visit Grant MacEwan this Friday and Saturday.