BRANDON, MB – The UBC Okanagan Heat didn't get the start they wanted but finished the way they liked, picking up a 3-1 (21-25, 25-23, 25-20, 25-13) win over the host Brandon Bobcats on Saturday.
The Heat finished off a weekend sweep of the Brandon Bobcats on Saturday night, with the victory extending their winning streak to four matches, and they improve their record to 12-4 and remain perfect in 2018.
After dropping the opening set, the Heat rallied to win the next three straight and capped it off with a dominant fourth-set win. UBC Okanagan utilized a well-rounded aproach to scoring with four players scoring at least 14 points: Michelle Jakszuk (16.5 pts.), Anne Richards (14.5 pts.), Siobhan Fitzpatrick (14 pts.), Aidan Lea (14 pts.). Sara McCreary spread the wealth around from her setter position racking up 36 assists and Erin Drew finished with six blocks in the full team effort win.
First Set: (21-25)
Brandon had the edge through most of the first, starting it off with a 6-0 run that forced an early Heat time-out. The Heat were able to score back-to-back points a number of times and had pulled within a point at 11-10. Another big run put the Bobcats up 16-10 at the technical time-out.
Four straight points brought the Heat within three, down 21-18, but the Bobcats were able to close it out. The Heat were the better team statistically, hitting .161 to Brandon's .154 and had 12 kills to the 'Cats 11, but Brandon was able to capitalize on UBCO's mistakes late to hold on for the win.
Second Set: (25-23)
The second was the closest set of the evening, and again had the Bobcats ahead early. The Heat didn't score consecutive points until just before the break, as they made it 15-9 after the second, while the Bobcats were consistently putting them together. At the technical time-out the home side was ahead 16-9.
The Heat were able to rally late, tying it up at 21-21 after a pair of four-point runs. Capitalizing on a few Brandon mistakes and swinging hard from the service line and at the net, UBCO were able to pull away in the final few points and topped off the set win with a rare kill from setter Sara McCreary.
Third Set: (25-20)
The Heat had grabbed the momentum in the match by the third, starting it off with a 5-0 run. Stringing points together well, the visitors went into the break with a Michelle Jakszuk kill that put them up 16-11.
The Heat scored five straight after the technical time-out, extending their lead to 21-11. The Bobcats were able to come storming back before allowing the Heat to reach set point, bringing it within three at 23-20. Back-to-back points for the Heat shut that rally down, though, and the Heat took a 2-1 lead into the fourth.
Fourth Set: (25-13)
Once again the Heat jumped well ahead early on in the final set. A pair of runs had them up 8-2, bolstered by a strong performance at the net by Aidan Lea, and they fought off a pair of Brandon runs to take a 16-10 lead into the technical time-out.
A six-point run developed for the Heat that had the break right in the middle, and they were up 19-10 when service errors were traded. A four-point run brought them to 23-11, before Ann Richards and Aidan Lea sealed the victory with a kill each.
Michelle Jakszuk was the Heat's leader in kills on Saturday evening, with 14, and was followed by Aidan Lea and Siobhan Fitpatrick with 10 apiece. Setting them up consistently all match was Sara McCreary, who finished with 36 assists.
Nikala Majewski finished the night with a match-high 21 kills, while Rayvn Wiebe was next after her for the Bobcats with nine kills of her own. Setter Mary Thompson finished with 35 assists, and Michelle Egger had a match-high six service aces.
By the Numbers:
The Heat's offence had them ahead in nearly all statistical categories Saturday. They finished better in kills (50-43), hitting percentage (.261-.104), assists (47-41), digs (54-41), and total blocks (13-6). The Bobcats finished ahead in service aces in the match, 11-9.
The UBC Okanagan Heat (12-4) will be on the road again next weekend, when they travel to take on the Saskatchewan Huskies (9-8) on Friday, January 26 and Saturday, January 27.
The Brandon Bobcats (7-9) will be in Vancouver next weekend, taking on the UBC Thunderbirds (14-2) on Friday and Saturday.
~ Grayson B. Leahy, Heat Sports Information; with notes from Matt Packwood, Brandon University Athletics