Olivia Krol, Dinos Communications
CALGARY – The University of Calgary women's volleyball team completed the weekend sweep of the UBC Okanagan Heat on Friday night, with a win in straight sets (25-18, 25-22, 31-29) in the Jack Simpson Gymnasium.
The fifth-ranked Dinos improve to 10-2 on the season, while the No. 3 Heat fall to 8-4 as the teams head into the December break.
The match was a true clash of the titans as the third and final set saw seven match points before Kate Pexman managed to seal the deal for the Dinos. For the match, the Dinos totaled 42 kills, 49 digs and a .195 hitting percentage, while the Heat tallied 37 kills and 48 digs, hitting .129.
Calgary dominated its way through the first set, hitting .429 with 15 kills and just three errors all set, while the Heat hit .172 with 10 kills and five errors. A kill by Brianna Solberg put the Dinos ahead 12-6, and later at 20-12, while a play from Kate Pexman notched Calgary up to 22-12. The Heat attempted to make a late run, but got no closer than eight, despite significant plays by both Natalie Livingston and Sydney McKinlay. Ultimately, it was a service error from Skye Thompson that helped Calgary clinch the set, 25-18.
The Heat were able to start the second up 8-4 off a kill by Michelle Jakszuk, and continued to lead 10-5 until Calgary went on a run, and managed to tie it up at 12-12. The Dinos took their first lead at 16-15, on which Brianna Solberg capitalized, pushing the team to 19-16. Siobhan Fitzpatrick tied the set up at 20-20, but it was the Dinos who clinched the second set at 25-22.
The third set was also evenly matched, with neither the Heat or the Dinos able to capture more than a three point advantage all the way through. The teams first met at 1-1, then again at 5-5, 7-7 and 13-13. Following a service ace by Erin Drew, the Heat managed to gain a 16-13 advantage, but a series of errors and retaliation from Pexman allowed Calgary to tie things up at 20-20. Though the Heat fought off seven set points, it was a kill by Pexman that clinched the set 31-29, and swept the match.
"These are the moments you live for in sport, and when you win them, it feels really good," said head coach Natalie Gurnsey of the multiple set point opportunities. "They build your character. You learn from it. We trained for it; the girls know there will be times when they will have to perform under pressure, especially against such a strong team. After yesterday's rivalry, we made a few adjustments anticipating what the Heat might try to do tonight against us offensively, and we made several changes. But overall we talked about being able to repeat what we did last night, on back-to-back nights."
Beth Vinnell led the Dinos with 11 kills and just two errors as she hit .474. Solberg notched nine kills and nine digs, hitting .240, while Pexman added seven kills and 16 digs.
Siobhan Fitzpatrick led the Heat with 14 kills and a .243, as Aidan Lea and Erin Drew each finished with five. Michelle Jakszuk impressed with eight kills and eight digs.
Both teams take a break for exams and the holidays before Canada West play resumes in January. The Heat will be up first, hosting Alberta Jan. 5-6 in Kelowna, while the Dinos will enjoy an extra week's rest before returning to action when they host the Brandon Bobcats Jan. 12-13.