Jan 2013 20

Heat Volleyballers Split with Dinos

Posted in Featured, Game Of The Month

The first January Game of the Month was an enjoyable volleyball match between the UBC Okanagan Heat mens and womens teams hosting the University of Calgary.

The UBC Okanagan Heat women’s volleyball team earned the weekend sweep, and fourth in a row after the second nail-biter in two-nights versus the visiting University of Calgary Dinos, downing their extinct adversaries in five sets (26-24, 25-15, 17-25, 21-25, 15-13).

Calgary resident Jill Festival, a fourth year outside hitter, was named the Heat Player of the Game versus her hometown, leading the game with 20 kills on a highly efficient .552 percentage.

A stubborn Dinos defense kept the Heat from executing well for most of the match, keeping a lot of pressure on the Heat’s hitters at the net. As a team the Dinos posted 19.0 team blocks and totalled 32 block assists for the night. Their defense kept the Heat to only a .161 hitting percentage.

Still, after a few hiccups in the first set the Heat were able to take control in the second and looked ready for a three-set sweep.

“I think [in] the first set that Calgary just played really well again, and just kept us off-balance all the time,” commented Heat bench boss Steve Manuel after the game.

“They’ve got a couple of hitters that, when they got the ball, we couldn’t stop them. We just waited it out and then we just got into a rotation where we executed really well and we made three or four key digs and blocks and we just got on a bit of a roll in the second set.”

However, the Dinos found a way to keep frustrating the Heat attack line and managed to force a fifth set. Both teams traded blows until Jill was able to bring it home, scoring the last two points for the Heat to clench the tight, 15-13 victory.

Usual heavy hitters Myrte Schön (4th year, Langley, BC) and Alex Basso (5th year, Kelowna, BC) struggled largely with their offense tonight, as Myrte finished with only 3 kills and while Basso tallied 15 kills, she also recorded 15 errors and .075 percentage over 53 attempts.

“We’ve got good, strong outside hitters … sometimes you’re timing is off just a little bit, then the other team is going to get you,” coach Manuel went on. He also added, however, that “We’ve got other people that can step up and do the job, and that’s how our team is. We need a team effort from our whole crew, and we’ve been seeing that.”
Emily Oxland (1st year, North Vancouver, BC) coordinated the offense for the Heat to the tune of 61 assists. She continuously was able to set up Jill for great looks en route to the latter’s 20 kills for the night.

“Emily Oxland instinctively does a really good job of making decisions on who to set,” Manuel said of his rookie setter and last night’s Player of the Game. She makes the call play to play on who to set and where.”

The Heat improve to 11-5 for the season and are on the road next weekend with a back-to-back at the number one team in the nation the 15-1 UBC Thunderbirds. Friday’s match begins at 6:00 p.m. at War Memorial Gymnasium.

The UBC Okanagan Heat men’s volleyball team couldn’t keep pace with the visiting University of Calgary Dinos, after taking the first two sets the Dinos pulled away late in the tightly contested third set for the match and weekend sweep (25-16, 25-18, 26-24).

High-flying middle Brett Uniat (5th year, Cochrane, AB) was named the Heat Player of the Game after contributing a team-high tying nine kills and three block assists. The Heat’s 6’4” middle did not back down against Calgary’s six-foot-ten middle Jovan Jankovic directly across the net.

An inability to slow the Dinos at the net frustrated the Heat all game long as the Dinos posted a .230 hitting percentage on the way to 38 kills.

The Heat couldn’t matchup on their side of the net as they piled up 18 attack errors and only 29 kills off of 29 assists. Riley McFarland’s (5th year, Surrey, BC) hand cooled off significantly following his three games to start 2013 where he tallied an incredible 80 kills. Tonight he finished with nine kills though he did contribute eight digs in the effort as well.

Due to a constant attack from the Dinos, rookie setter Kristoff Schlagintweit (Abbotsford, BC) was often unable to get a proper touch on the ball to set up the Heat attack and finished with only 22 of his teams 29 assists.

“[Riley] and Kristoff didn’t quite have the connection that they normally have been having,” said assistant coach Kyle Joslin in a postgame interview.

After two unpromising sets amid confusion and a lack of confidence against a Dinos squad that had everything rolling for them, the Heat still dug deep and found a way to nearly bring themselves back in the game in the third set. The Heat dropped sets one a two 19-25 and 18-25 respectively.

“All year we’ve been struggling with getting down on ourselves and getting angry within [while] on the court and showing it,” Joslin added. “We’ve kind of been fixing that and for the most part stayed positive and celebrated on our side of the net whenever we did something positive and didn’t let the negative stuff drag us down—that was one good thing.”

Positivity kept the Heat hanging tough in the third set, and after back-to-back blocks by a Uniat/Schlagintweit duo, the Heat looked to have received a healthy boost of confidence.

“We [the coaches] stayed positive with them and [gave them] keys, things to think about for the next play … try to forget about what has happened. That’s already over. The next play is usually what we want them to focus on,” Joslin also said.

The Heat are now 2-14 and will search for their third of the season next as they hit the road to visit their sister school the UBC Thunderbirds. The Heat split with the T’Birds in Kelowna last fall and will play for the first time in league play at venerable War Memorial Gymnasium. Friday’s first serev is slated for 8:00 p.m.


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