Brandon, MB - It was another strong performance for the U SPORTS No. 3 ranked Heat women's volleyball team a they won their third straight on Friday night defeating the Brandon Bobcats in straight sets.
The win keeps the #3 nationally-ranked Heat perfect in 2018 after a sweep of Alberta two weeks ago and move to 11-4 on the season. The Heat currently sit in fourth place in the Canada West standings with five games remaining in the regular season. The Bobcats fall below .500 with the loss (7-8) and currently hold down the last playoff spot in the conference.
It was the Heat's high attack efficiency in each of the three sets as a key to the victory, while the Bobcats struggled on offense all nigh, struggling to score against the size of the UBCO lineup.
First set: (25-20)
After losing the first point of the match the Heat would bounce back and gain the early lead. They would score eight of the next nine points to gain a 8-2 lead very early on. The hometown Bobcats would find their stride however midway through the opening set and at the technical the Heat led by just two (16-14) following an Erin Drew kill.
Drew would get two more kills following the technical timeout to help the Heat expand the lead at 20-17 and force a Bobcats timeout. A big Michelle Jakszuk kill from the back row would give the Heat set point and a Skye Thompson service ace would close out the first set for the Heat. In the first set the visitors hit .242 as a team compared to just .028 for the Cats'
Second set: (25-20)
It was a sloppy start to the second with three straight service errors. The Heat would continue to play well on offense, gaining a 6-1 lead early in the set. Similar to the first frame, the Bobcats would bounce back and go on a 6-1 run of their own to force a timeout from head coach Steve Manuel at (7-7).
Coming out of the timeout the team would go to their bread a butter as Aidan Lea would get the next point on the step around kill. The two teams would continue to go blow for blow as the Bobcats would gain the lead 12-10 following a kill from Michelle Egger.
UBCO would score four of the last five points prior to the technical timeout in the second and would hold a slight lead at 16-15. A Jakszuk ace set the Heat up at 21-16, both teams traded scores until Erin Drew and Ann Richards would combine for a big block to close out the second set in a Heat win.
Third set: (25-15)
Brandon would come out strong in the third and lead 9-5 early on. A quick 5-0 run would force a Cats' timeout. The 5-0 run would turn into a 13-2 run to take an 18-11 lead, a lead they would not relinquish as they closed out the set and match in just over an hour. The Heat offense in the third set was unstoppable as they hit .400 in the final set as a team.
- Siobhan Fitzpatrick had a game-high 10 kills for the Heat along with 10 digs for a double-double, her team leading eigth of the season.
- Michelle Jakszuk fell just short of a double-double herself as she had nine kills to go with eight digs on the night.
- Michelle Egger led all Bobcats players with six kills on the night along with seven digs.
- UBC Okanagan has had good luck in Brandon, starting with a quarterfinal upset sweep of the then No. 2 nationally ranked Bobcats in February of 2014. The Heat went on to win the program's first national medal at the national championships held at BU's Healthy Living Centre in March of 2016.
Inside the numbers:
- The Heat would have the advantage in all the significant statistical categories on the night as they had more kills (37-25), a better hitting percentage (.265 - .045), more assists (32-23) and digs (35-28).
- After the win the Heat are now 9-4 against the Bobcats in Canada West play along with a perfect 2-0 record in the post-season.
- These two teams will be back face off once again on Saturday night with first serve going at 3 p.m. PST in Brandon.
~ OliverRizun, Heat sports information; with notes from Matt Packwood, Brandon University Athletics