CALGARY – Three players hit double digits in kills for the UBC Okanagan Heat as they closed out their season with a 3-1 win (25-18, 24-26, 25-22, 25-23) over the Calgary Dinos on Saturday afternoon at the Jack Simpson Gym.
The Dinos opened the evening by honouring their three graduating players, Juan Becerra, Mac McNicol, and Mitchell Higgin, who were playing their final home games of their varsity careers. Stealing the spotlight were the Heat, who gave their seniors Johnson Yi and Denham O'Reilly a win in their final match.
Matt Aubrey led the way for UBC Okanagan with 17 kills along with four digs and three aces. Max Heppell and O'Reilly also reached double digits with 16 and 12 kills respectively.
�� MVB | FINAL— UBCO Heat (@UBCOHeat) February 16, 2020
HEAT WIN! ����
UBCO closes with a four set victory over the No. 10 team in the country. Aubrey with a career-high in kills including this on match point. First victory over a ranked team for the Heat since 2016.#ubcoproud #goheat pic.twitter.com/VYyp0EG4n2
Hamish Hazelden fueled the attack for Calgary with 19 kills, while the senior McNicol collected 15.
After dropping the opening game of the weekend in three sets, the Heat came out red-hot thanks to some excellent hitting and strong work at the service line. UBC Okanagan built their lead to as large as six and fended off comebacks by the Dinos to take the first 25-18.
The visitors' hitting cooled down in the second set but remained steady. The Dinos carried a slight lead through the first half of the set before the Heat took a two-point at 21-19. A pair of kills by Hazelden evened the score late, while a series of errors by the Heat gave the Dinos a 26-24 second set win.
�� MVB— UBCO Heat (@UBCOHeat) February 16, 2020
Great start for the �� as they take the opener 25-18 over the No. 10 @UCDinos thanks to this saucy tip from the Australian Matt Aubrey.#letskeepitgoing #feedtheflame
��https://t.co/rujzHEpWaj presented by Co-op. pic.twitter.com/GE5UYyzFx9
UBC Okanagan went on their largest run of the day mid-way through the third set, taking advantage of Teo Ardanaz's serving. The Heat scored five consecutive points to erase a two-point deficit and take the lead at the technical timeout. Late substitutions by the Heat brought some extra energy to the floor and put them over the top by a 25-22 score.
Early errors hurt the Dinos in the fourth set and stopped them from extending an 8-6 lead. From there, the Heat took over the set with a 16-11 lead at the technical timeout. Despite Calgary continuing to chip away – even making it a one-point game late – the UBC Okanagan Heat closed out the match with a 25-23 fourth-set victory.
The Dinos will begin their Canada West playoffs next weekend with a rematch of last year's quarter-final against the Brandon Bobcats, while the Heat conclude their campaign with a 3-19 record, but on a high note. This is the second straight year that UBCO finished the season with a win and the first win over a nationally-ranked opponent in four years.
~ With notes from Emily Wallace, Calgary Dinos Sports.