Kelowna, B.C. - A tough matchup against a top ranked squad turned into a three set loss as the Heat women's volleyball squad dropped their home-opener to the No.3 ranked Trinity Western Spartans in three sets on Friday night.
After dropping the opening two sets 25-11 and 25-19, the Heat would hold a commanding 22-16 third set lead but the Spartans would score seven out of the next eight points to tie things up at 23. After fending off match points at 24-23 and 25-24, before eventually closing the match out at 28-26 in the third set.
With the loss the Heat fall to 0-3 on the early season while the Spartans keep their record perfect at 3-0. The two teams will be back on the court again on Saturday night with first serve going at 5 pm. PT.
This marks one of head coach Steve Manuel's youngest teams ever, as he started two rookies and a transfer, and at one point in the match had four rookies on the floor at once.
- Rookie Sydney Grills would be the offensive leader for the third straight match for the Heat, racking up a game-high 12 kills on a .259 hitting percentage
- Setter Natalie Livingston continued her strong play for the Kelowna program, tallying 19 assists along with eight digs and five blocks.
- While not a single Spartans would finish in double-figures kill wise, Savannah Purdy would finish with nine put-downs along with seven digs for the Spartans.
- Brie O'Reilly would finish with 20 assists along with a game-high nine digs for the visitors along with two blocks from the setter position.
Inside the numbers:
- The Spartans would finish with more kills than the Heat (31-28) along with having less service errors (9-5) and receiving errors (12-7).
- 12 service aces for Trinity Western would give them free points all night, as the Heat had just seven of their own from the service line.
It was a slow start for the Heat to open up their home season as they would lead early at 5-4 but the nationally ranked Spartans came roaring back to build a 16-6 technical timeout lead. The errors were the issue for the home team as they 13 total errors in the opening set. They would have as many kills (7) as they would hitting errors compared to Trinity who had seven kills and just two hitting mistakes.
Just after the technical timeout in the second frame UBCO would trail by just a point at 16-15, following back-to-back Spartans errors. Trinity Western would not be shaken however, scoring seven of the eight points that would follow to build a commanding 23-16 lead and would close out the set 25-19.
The third would be the most entertaining and pressure-packed set of the match, with the Heat holding the early lead and the Spartans mounting a late comeback. The home team would hold a 22-16 advantage but Trinity would score seven points out of eight to tie things up at 23 all. After another Spartans point the Heat would have to fend off match point with a big Ann Richards swing from the left side to knot things up at 24. Stephanie Temme would save another match point at 25-24 Spartans and another Richards kill gave the Heat a chance to extend the match. Back-to-back kills from Hilary Howe and Brie O'Reilly would give Trinity Western another match point opportunity and this time they would capitalize thanks to a service ace from Mikaelyn Sych.
- Spartans setter Brie O'Reilly had a tough crowd on hand in Kelowna on Friday night, as her older brother Denham is the starting setter for the Heat men's team.
~ Oliver Rizun, Heat Sports Information