KELOWNA, BC - The No. 2 ranked Calgary Dinos got back on track in the Okanagan on Friday night as they captured a four-set win against the hometown UBCO Heat.
The two teams would split the opening two sets but the Dinos came on strong at the end, capturing the third and fourth sets by 25-17 and 25-18 scorelines to capture their 11th win of the Canada West season (11-2).
With the loss, UBC Okanagan falls to 2-11 on their conference season and are looking avoid missing the playoffs for the first time since 2011/12.
Steve Manuel was happy with the signs of growth his team showed, especially against one of the countries best teams.
"I thought our team played very well and the more we play the closer we get. We prevent one or two of those runs in a couple of those sets and were still out there playing a four or fifth set and I am just really happy how the team is coming together and starting to perform."
Beth Vinnell was efficient all night long as she finished with 16 kills on a .538 hitting percentage along with four service aces. Kate Pexman also chipped in with a double-double highlighted by a team-high 15 digs.
Efficiency was the deciding factor in the match, as the Dinos hit .286 compared to just .185 for the Heat.
The service line was another area that went to way of Calgary, as they had 13 aces to just one error. UBCO would finish with seven aces compared to eight errors.
Bring the Heat:
Friday nights game in Kelowna was also the continuation of the Heat volleyball programs "Bring the Heat" clothing drive that commenced on Jan.2nd. This fundraising effort is in partnership with Inn from the Cold - Kelowna, which is a non-profit organization responding to the needs of people experiencing homelessness in the community. Saturday's game will be the culmination of the fundraising cause.
It was all visitors to start the match as they took the lead at 6-5 and would never relinquish this advantage. They would score eight straight points going into the media timeout with the score 16-8 and the lead would only build from there, taking the first 25-11. The Dinos block allowed no space for the Heat at the net as the home team had just two kills in the first set, their lowest output all season.
In an extremely exciting and closely contested second stanza, neither team had more then a three point advantage all set long. After Calgary held the 20-18 lead, it was the home team who found their rhythm and score four of the next five points to take the lead at 22-21. After a service error from the Heat tied things up, UBCO scored the final three points, including two Ann Richards kills from the right side to take the second 25-22 and tie the match at a set a piece.
Calgary got back on track in the third as they built an early 6-1 advantage and while the Heat cut the lead to just one at 12-11, they were unable to get any closer. The Dinos had 13 kills on a .321 hitting percentage to take control and capture the frame 25-17 to get themselves one set away from victory.
It was a back-and-forth start to the fourth, as the home team trailed 16-14 at the media timeout following a Kate Pexman kill. Three out of the next four points went UBCO's way as they tied things up at 17 looking to push the match to five. The No. 2 ranked Dinos showed why they are the defending Canada West Champions however as they scored all but one of the remaining points in the set to take the win in four sets.
These two teams will play once again tomorrow night in the UBC Okanagan gymnasium with first serve set for 6 p.m. PST.
~ Oliver Rizun, Heat Sports Information