UBCO’s Ann Richards and Erin Drew go up for a block against UBC in Canada West playoff action.                                -Image: Rich Lam/UBC Athletics

UBCO’s Ann Richards and Erin Drew go up for a block against UBC in Canada West playoff action. -Image: Rich Lam/UBC Athletics

Heat falls to T-Birds, preps for nationals

UBC Okanagan loses in Canada West semis, but qualifies for U Sports finals in Quebec

The UBC Okanagan Heat saw their quest for a Canada West women’s volleyball title halted at the hands of the rival UBC Thunderbirds.

Still, the Heat are living to fight another day.

Steve Manuel’s squad had already qualified as one of four Canada West reps at the U Sports national championship later this month in Quebec City. The Canadian championship will go March 16 to 18 at the University of Laval.

The Heat, who defeated Manitoba in straight matches in the quarterfinals, fell 3-1 (17-25, 25-19, 19-25, 19-25) to UBC Friday in Vancouver in the semifinal opener.

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.

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.

On Saturday, the Thunderbirds put the Heat away in a sweep (19-25, 18-25, 17-25).

Jakszuk led the Heat once again with a team-high six kills along with 12 digs. Sara McCreary had 15 assists along with eight digs, while Sophia Furlan chipped in with 12 kills.

The Heat, who went 19-5 during the regular season, will now have an extra week to prepare for nationals.

UBCO’s first match in Quebec City will be in the quarterfinals on Thursday, March 16.

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