Connor Hood - Golden Bears and Pandas Athletics
EDMONTON - Meg Casault set the new conference kills record, while her No. 1 University of Alberta Pandas won their 20th straight game Saturday night at Saville Community Sports Centre, knocking off the No. 9 UBC Okanagan Heat 3-0 (25-17, 25-19, 25-23) for the second night in a row.
Casault recorded the record-breaking kill early in the first set, her 1,255th career kill, placing her atop the Canada West all-time list. The fifth-year Panda eclipsed the mark set by Pandas alumni Tawana McLeod in 2006.
Casault also led Saturday night's game with 12 kills, her second-straight night with a dozen. Rookie middle Vanessa Jarman had herself an extremely efficient night, finishing with nine kills on just 12 attempts, will also recording one assist, one block, and one dig. Fourth-year Panda Mariah Walsh led the match with 32 assists.
Aidan Lea and Siobhan Fitzpatrick led the Heat with nine kills each, with Fitzpatrick spinning in five aces as well.
The Pandas, fresh off a 3-0 win the previous night, were slow early in the first set, as the visiting Heat jumped out to a quick 6-2 lead. However, the four-point gap would be short-lived, as the Pandas rolled off a quick 11-4 run to take a 13-10 set lead. Casault paced Alberta with five opening set kills, while Jarman spun in four of her nine in the opening set. Another 11-4 run ended the first set 25-17 for Alberta, with Jarman earning set point.
The second set was much closer, as the teams exchanged points all the way to a 9-9 tie. The back-and-forth set continued on, but the Pandas were able to close it out late, ripping off a 7-3 stretch to take the set 25-19.
Trying to battle back from down 2-0, the Heat gave the Pandas everything they had early, racing out to a 5-2 lead. But just like previous sets, the Heat couldn't maintain their ferocious pace, eventually falling behind 10-7. Another for kills from Casault, and three from Shauny Hogg were enough to propel the Pandas to a 25-23 set win, and the match.
The Pandas will finish their season with back-to-back series' on the road, first visiting the UBC Thunderbirds in Vancouver, before paying the Calgary Dinos a visit. UBCO, meanwhile, will battle the Thompson Rivers WolfPack and the MacEwan Griffins in the final two weeks.