Senior Aidan Lea had another outstanding game for the Heat in the middle but it would not be enough as the Regina Cougars captured the four-set victory on Saturday night in the Okanagan gym.
After Regina took the first two sets by 25-19, and 25-23, the Heat came on strong in the third as they extended the match into four sets with the 25-19 third set win. The comeback would fall just short however as Regina took the third 25-10 to earn their eighth straight win.
With the victory, the Cougars clinch a spot in the postseason and improve their record to 14-8 with two games left in their regular season. The Heat fall to 2-18 with the loss and travel to Alberta next weekend to play the Pandas.
Lea finished with 16 kills and three blocks for the Heat while rookie Sydney Grills finished just shy of a double-double with 11 kills and eight digs.
Jessica Lerminiaux had 14 kills on the night for the visitors while middle Brooklyn Reynolds had 10 kills and no attack errors. Libero Taylor Ungar continued to add to her record-breaking digs total with another 19 in the match.
Regina hit .259 on . the night compared to just .158 for the home team while the Cougars also finished with 12 service aces while the Heat had just seven.
With the Heat eliminated from postseason contention, head coach Steve Manuel noted that his team needs to continue to get better in their last four matches.
“We will continue to develop to work on the team and focus on getting better and when we step on that floor week-in week-out it’s to win the match that night,” said Manuel.
The first four points of the match went to the visitors as they jumped out to an early advantage and would have control of the set throughout. UBCO was able to cut the deficit to one at 16-15 following a service ace from Sadie Taylor-Parks. Regina got back on track following this stretch however as they scored four straight to build the lead back up to 20-15 and they were able to close out the frame 25-19.
It was a highly contested second frame as the Cougars had the 16-13 lead at the media timeout but the home team made a run to take the 18-17 advantage. Regina took the lead back at 22-19 but a big swing from Aidan Lea closed out a three-point Heat run to tie things back up at 22. Ashlee Sandiford gave the Cougars the one point lead but Lea was on point once again on a big kill from the middle to knot things up at 23. Jessica Lameriniaux gave the visitors set point and Brittany Rousseaux closed things out with a service ace for the 25-23 set victory.
The turning point in the third came just three points in as Regina led 3-0 to start the frame and prompted a quick timeout from Heat head coach Steve Manuel. The team got the message and scored 13 of the next 16 points to build a 13-6 lead. This spurt early in the frame would allow the home team to push the match into a fourth set following the 25-19 third set victory.
Regina’s attack had their best set of the night in the fourth, as they used a .367 hitting percentage to take an early 10-0 lead on the home team and would cruise to the 25-10 fourth set victory.
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