QUEBEC CITY (U SPORTS) – Following the four set 3-1 (25-16, 17-25, 27-25, 25-20) loss to Laval on Saturday the Heat miss out on the chance to play one last time at U SPORTS Women's Volleyball Championship presented by Hotel Universel Quebec.
The host Rouge et Or will have that chance to play one last time and one last time in front of their home fans, and a chance to win the consolation final.
After dropping the first set the Heat came back and tied the match and looked good to take a two set to one lead but were unable to close out the third set. Laval came back to take set three 27-25 and then the Heat and Laval played even in the fourth to the technical timeout. The Rouge et Or scored nine of the next 13 points to close out UBC Okanagan's season.
The loss ends the season for UBC Okanagan and the career for three players who tallied outstanding careers with the Heat.
Erin Drew, a middle from Rutland Secondary, and two outside hitters Siobhan Fitzpatrick, from Immaculata High, and Michelle Jakszuk, from Elphinstone Secondary in Gibsons, BC, have finished their playing time for UBCO and will go down as some winningest players in program history. Read more about their careers here…
Back in the nationals for the first time in three years, Laval will advance to the fifth-place game on Sunday at 11 a.m. against an opponent they know well – the RSEQ champion Montréal Carabins. As for the Heat, today's loss ends their season, and the Canada West semi-finalists will leave Quebec with a seventh-place finish.
The Montreal – Laval rivalry will resume on Sunday at 11 a.m. ET/8 a.m PT in the consolation final. The Carabins defeated the Rouge et Or in the RSEQ championship. On the question of vengeance, it was more the last career match for his veterans that preoccupied Caron. "We have to expect a game with a great deal of emotion. There are three seniors on the other side who want to beat us for their last university match. It's the same thing for us. Our seniors want to play their last high-level match. It's going to be fun!"
Coaches comments (UBC Okanagan):
On the UBC Okanagan side, head coach Steve Manuel paid tribute to their opponents. "Laval is so precise and so disciplined. You really can't afford to give anything and if you do a loss is the outcome. We made too many errors, too many at the wrong time. We had some chances in the 3rd set but we missed six serves in a row."
Manuel believes, however, that his team will take a lot from this week at nationals. "We are still building a program. We are a relatively new Volleyball program to U SPORTS but it's already our 2nd trip to Nationals. What I hope is that we learned something from this week and understand what it takes to be a little bit better among the top 8 teams in the country so we can be a little bit more ready with this group when we return."
Coaches comments (Laval):
"We really played a good match with a lot of intensity. It was really impressive at this level. On the other side, too, they fought. They had the advantage sometimes at the net, being bigger and taller than us. But the rest of the time, we defended well and played tactically," said the Rouge et Or's Olivier Caron.
The Laval bench boss is used to his team's resilience. "It's what we've done all year. Each time we had a mediocre performance, the next day the girls recovered. It's a strength of our group," he said, referring to Friday's three-set loss to Calgary, including dropping the final set 25-11. "In our team, we don't have any all-Canadians. Our all-star, it's the group of 14 girls. That's our strength. We don't depend on one girl in particular. Everybody has to perform to their level."
Players of the Game
Laval Rouge et Or: Alex Béraud
UBC Okanagan Heat: Sara McCreary
The player of the game for the Rouge et Or, Alex Béraud, made seven kills, three aces two solo blocks and two block assists for a total of 13 points. For the Heat, the honour went to setter Sara McCreary, who made 38 assists as well as two aces.
Set 1: 16-25
UBCO started slow on Saturday afternoon as the Rouge et Or scored the first five points in the match and head coach Steve Manuel had to call a quick timeout. The Heat would trail 16-6 at the technical timeout but and while they would cut the deficit to just six late on, they fell 25-16 to the hosts from Quebec City.
Set 2: 25-17
The Heat would mount a comeback in the second as the second would be tightly contested to start but the team from Kelowna would pull away. After having a 16-12 lead at the technical timeout, the team would not let the Rouge et Or get any closer as they tied the match up at a set apiece with the 25-17 second set win.
Set 3: 25-27
The Heat would go down early in the third but three straight points would know the frame up at 14 apiece and force a timeout from the hosts. Aidan Lea would keep the streak going with a big swing out of the timeout and Erin Drew followed that up with a service ace that gave UBCO a 16-14 lead going into the technical timeout. The rest of the set was highly contested, with neither team able to gain separation. The Heat would lead at 23-22 and 25-24 but were unable to close out the third frame.
Set 4: 20-25
It was an even start to the fourth with slim leads being held early on by both teams. The Heat would tie things up at 16 apiece but a quick 4-1 run from the Rouge et Or would make Steve Manuel call a timeout with his team trailing 20-17. This would be as the Kelowna team would get as they were unable to mount a comeback eventually falling 25-20 to the host team.
Stat of the match:
The Heat struggled in the consolation semi-final with the service game 16 service errors and 14 serve reception errors in the four set match but did spin 10 aces.
Laval spun 14 aces in the match with Emie Gaboury scoring six herself. Laval 12 and 10 service and reception errors respectively.