Winnipeg, M.B. - While Jade Bussard recorded a double-double on Friday night at Investors Group Athletic Centre the Heat would drop the first of two matchups with the Manitoba Bisons in four sets.
After a strong start, the Heat captured the opening frame 25-23 but were unable to continue this momentum throughout the match. The second and third sets would go the way of the home team by 25-12 and 25-16 before they closed out the match with a 25-20 fourth set win.
Right side Kearley Abbott had 13 kills to lead Manitoba while Setter Kelsey Jordan also had seven kills and an .875 hitting percentage for the hosts, who hit .297 for the game, compared to .122 for UBC Okanagan.
With the win, Manitoba advanced to 7-8, while the Heat fell to 2-13. Both teams are back at it tomorrow at 3 p.m. PST.
The first set featured some impressive runs from both sides that ended in an eventual set win for UBCO.
It was the Bisons who erupted to an early 14-7 lead, however, the Heat fought back, outscoring the hosts 9-1 shortly after to take a 16-15 lead at the technical timeout.
Manitoba would get back to as close as one, at 24-23 late, but couldn't complete the comeback. Middle Aidan Lea led all Heat players with five kills and two big service aces, while libero Cassie Bujan had nine digs on some key rallies and Abbott put down kills.
A total of ten errors came back to haunt UBCO in the second set, as they struggled to maintain momentum. The hosts, on the other hand, committed just one error. Additionally, Manitoba had a stellar hitting percentage at .526, while the Heat struggled, at -.033
The visitors trailed 16-8 at the technical timeout and simply couldn't get out of the hole they created, falling 25-12. Middle Jocelyn Koswin was stellar on the other end, registering three kills as well as three assisted blocks. Richards was UBCO's best threat, with four kills.
The hosts ran up a strong lead in the third set as well, leading 16-10 at the technical timeout. Left side Laura Findlay was a huge factor during Manitoba's run, posting a few big kills and five overall.
UBCO setter Natalie Livingston responded well for the Heat, with three big digs during a few back-and-forth runs, while outside hitter Sydney Grills had two kills, but again, a few costly errors cost the visitors late, as the hosts secured the 25-16 win.
The fourth set provided much of the same storyline as the last two, as Manitoba continued to capitalize on some tough UBCO errors to take a 16-10 lead at the technical timeout.
Despite the score, the visitors kept fighting, getting an inspired performance from middle Aidan Lea, who had six kills in the set and 12 overall and helped claw the squad back to within four late, at 24-20 but it would not be enough.
~ Oliver Rizun, Heat Sports Information, Notes from Mike Still, Bison Sports