Winnipeg, MB - The UBC Okanagan Heat women's volleyball team fell in Winnipeg to the Wesmen on Friday night at the Duckworth Centre in straight sets 3-0 (25-22, 25-21, 25-20).
The victory ended the Wesmen's 25-match conference losing streak, winning their first Canada West conference match in more than a year, and also snapped a four-match losing streak against the Heat, who fell to 0-5 on the season.
In the process, Winnipeg improved to 1-2, leaving UBCO and Brandon as the only teams in the conference without a victory.
"We passed well, for the most part. We adapted on some defensive situations, and we stayed aggressive, which was really important, too," Wesmen head coach Diane Scott said. "We got some blocks early, and that helped us and we made some big plays early and it helped our confidence."
"We've been working very hard, the girls are improving. They're getting better all the time, but we needed to have a reward for all that effort to really believe that you can do it. It doesn't mean the growth and the learning is over, we've got work to do."
Coincidentally, the win also came on a night in which the Wesmen unveiled a new banner to honour the teams of the late 80s that tore off a record 123-match win streak.
UBCO coach Steve Manuel said his team struggled in late-set situations. In the third set, for instance, the Heat watched a 16-15 Wesmen lead balloon to 22-19 and Winnipeg closed the set winning nine of the final 14 points.
"They just picked us apart. It was surgical what they did tonight," Manuel said.
"…We have to serve better, for sure, but our serving right now is part of a bigger issue with our overall approach to the game. We're very passive with everything that we're doing. We have five or six inches on the Wesmen, and they outblocked us tonight. And we're just happy to sit back and let the play happen and react, and that's just not going to work for us."
The Heat will get a shot at ending the Wesmen's winning streak on Saturday night, once again in the Duckworth Centre on the campus of the University of Winnipeg. First serve for the women will be at 4:45 p.m. PT, the women will follow the men's match on Saturday.
~ David Larkins, Wesmen Athletics