Edmonton, AB - It was a rocky start to the 2018 Canada West season for the Heat women's volleyball team, as they dropped their opening match of the new season to the MacEwan Griffins in four sets on Friday night.
The Heat would drop the opening two sets to MacEwan before capturing the third frame by a decisive 25-12 scoreline. A fourth set comeback would fall just short for the visitors as MacEwan scored the last six points to close out the match.
The service line was one of the deciding factors in the match, as MacEwan had 16 service aces compared to just nine for the visiting Heat.
- Senior outside hitter Ann Richards would lead the way for the Heat on the offensive end, racking up 11 kills on the night which was tied for the match high.
- Kelowna product Natalie Livingston would finish the match with the only double-double, as the setter finished with 21 assists along with 10 digs for the visitors.
- Middle blocker Hailey Cornelis was a force all night long for the home team, as she had 11 kills along with nine digs to lead the way for MacEwan.
- Outside hitter Janna Ogle would stuff the stat sheet in the match, as she had seven kills, seven digs, four service aces and two blocks in her first conference game in 1,006 days following shoulder surgery.
The first set was defined by the serving game of the home team as they would have score five of their first nine points from the service line. MacEwan would finish with seven service aces in the set thanks to some loose passing from the visitors. While the Heat would score six points in a row to cut the nine point deficit to three, that would be as close as they would get and eventually fall 25-16.
The visitors would trail for the entirety of the second set in Edmonton, as they would trail 16-9 at the technical timeout and were never able to close the gap. The Heat would struggle to find the offense in the second as they would have just seven kills on 23 total attacks in the frame.
The Heat would find their footing in the third frame on the road, as they would score seven points in a row early on to build a commanding 16-8 lead going into the technical timeout. It would be smooth sailing from there for Kelowna team as they put away MacEwan with six straight points to finish the set with a 25-12 win. It was the cleanest set offensively for the Heat in the third, as they racked up 10 kills and just four errors.
A slow start in the fourth would put the Heat behind the eight ball early, as they trailed 11-2 to start the set. They would climb back however, and after six points in a row just after the technical timeout, the deficit would be just two at 18-16. Three Ann Richard's kills in the next four points would tie the set up at 19, but the Griffins would pull away by scoring the final six points of the set to close out the match.
These two teams will meet up once again tomorrow night in Edmonton, with first serve going at 5 pm. MDT.
This was the first loss ever for UBC Okanagan to MacEwan in a Canada West conference match since the Edmonton's entrance into the league, a streak of eight wins for UBCO.
~ Oliver Rizun, Heat Sports Information