LANGLEY, B.C. – The No. 9-ranked UBC Okanagan spoiled Trinity Western's regular season home-opener, as the Heat beat the Spartans 3-0 (25-19, 25-22, 25-20) Friday at the Langley Events Centre.
Led by Ann Richards, who finished with 11 kills, the Heat (2-1) were the better side throughout, hitting .216 en route to their first ever three-set win over TWU in Langley. Erin Drew added eight kills and a match-high five blocks.
The Spartans (1-2) were led offensively by second-year Hilary Howe (Calgary), who had 10 kills and three aces, while fifth-year middle Katelyn Devaney (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) had four blocks and five kills. Fourth-year libero Rachel Flink (Surrey, B.C.) had a match-high 17 digs. TWU hit .104 as a team.
Buoyed by a boisterous home crowd, the Spartans raced out to a 13-9 lead in the first set, forcing the Heat into an early timeout. However, out of the timeout, UBCO tallied five straight points to take a 14-13 lead and from there, the Heat never trailed. A 5-0 run sealed the win for the visitors, with UBCO hitting .378 to TWU's .200.
The second set was all Heat early on as they opened a 16-4 lead at the technical timeout. The Spartans roared back, closing the gap to just two points, at 24-22, but out of a Heat timeout, a TWU error gave UBCO the set.
After collecting five kills in the first set, Richards duplicated her performance in the second set with another five-kill effort. After leading TWU with six kills in the first set, Howe was held to just two kills in the second set.
The third set saw UBCO go on an early 4-0 run that put the Heat up 10-6 after a block from Drew and Siobhan Fitzpatrick. Sparked by a Linda Damerau (Furthen, Germany) kill, TWU tallied six of the next seven points to even the set 12-12. However, momentum swung right back to the Heat as they took a 16-13 lead into the technical timeout. After that, UBCO held on for a five-point win.
Tough place to play
Not only was this the first straight set victory in Langley this was also the second straight win for the Heat versus TWU on the Spartan home floor. UBCO lost their first five matches upon starting Canada West competition in 2011but won tonight in three and in five their last time out on February 6th, 2016.
UBCO Head Coach Steve Manuel
"Extremely happy with the resilience of this team. That was a very loud and hostile environment, the players came through great. "
- UBCO had 14 aces, while the Spartans had just eight.
- The teams finished with eight blocks apiece.
- The last time these two teams played was in the 2017 Canada West Bronze Medal Match in Edmonton, when TWU won in three sets to earn a berth into the national championship tournament.
The Heat and Spartans will meet again Saturday at 5 p.m. at the LEC.
~ With notes from Mark Janzen, Sports Information / Spartans