The UBC Okanagan Heat were unable to trip up the Bisons Friday night, as Manitoba earned an important straight set 3-0 (26-24, 25-17, 25-21) victory in CIS women’s volleyball at the Investors Group Athletic Centre.
Manitoba takes sole possession of fourth place in the Canada West conference at 12-7, while the Heat now sit fifth at 11-8. Although both teams will likely face each other in the first round of the Canada West playoffs, the fourth seed will earn the right to host – a privilege the Heat would love to have. The Bisons have never won in Kelowna, and the Heat would love to avoid the almost 2,000 kilometre journey back to Winnipeg.
The Heat struggled with first touch for the majority of the match. Setter Emily Oxland (2nd year, North Vancouver) did all she could to keep her offence running smoothly, but as a team, the Heat had difficulties getting quality passes off over the course of the three sets.
“Travel is always tough, but that’s just a reality every team has to deal with,” said Heat head coach Steve Manuel. “There’s no excuses tonight – Manitoba just plain old outplayed us.”
Katy Klomps (3rd year, Surrey) and Katie Wuttunee (3rd year, North Vancouver) both had very good games offensively with nine kills apiece, and from the service line, Wuttunee provided a career-high four service aces. Megan Festival (2nd year, Calgary) was effective as well, tallying 11 kills and 11 digs – her best game since a 12-kill, 19-dig performance Nov. 30 versus Calgary.
Manitoba had twin 10-kill performances from Winnipeg juniors Rachel Cockrell (3rd year, Winnipeg and Taylor Pischke.