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T-Birds settle for weekend split with four-set loss to Heat

T-Birds settle for weekend split with four-set loss to Heat

KELOWNA, B.C. – In a reversal of fortunes from Friday night, the UBC Thunderbirds started strong but fell to the host UBC Okanagan Heat in four sets (22-25, 25-23, 25-22, 25-23) Saturday in Kelowna.

A day after dropping their first game of the season, Sydney Grills ensured the Heat would head into the holiday break on a high note. The 6-3 outside hitter had a game-high 22 kills, the second highest mark of any player in Canada West this season, to go along with five total blocks as well as the match-clinching serve in the fourth set.

It was the Thunderbirds who took the first set as the Heat struggled early with 12 combined errors in the frame.

Facing a deficit for the second consecutive night, the Heat put in a strong performance in the second set. However, they struggled to close it out and needed to use six of their seven set points in the second stanza.

After their second set jitters, the Heat had no issues closing out the remaining two sets, overcoming a talented Thunderbirds squad to pick up their fifth win of the year. 

The Heat got strong performances from across their roster including Jade Bussard who hit .264 with 12 kills and nine digs. Coming off the bench, Sadie Taylor-Parks played a big role with five blocks and a pair of aces, giving UBCO energy when they needed it most.

The win gets the Heat back on track at 5-1 on their campaign, tying Trinity Western for tops in the West Division, while UBC’s loss is their third straight weekend split as they now sit at 3-3 on the year.

Kayla Oxland at UBCO, Dec. 3, 2021

Both setters, UBCO’s Sara McCreary and UBC’s Kayla Oxland each had 37 assists for their respective teams. McCreary helped out with 10 digs and a pair of aces for the Heat.

Cara Kovacs led the ‘Birds with 17 kills while Erika Vermette had a team-high 10 digs.

Okanagan out hit Vancouver .251 to .211 in the match.

The ‘Birds are now off of Canada West action until the New Year when they’ll kick start 2022 January 14th when they host the Thompson Rivers WolfPack for the first match of a weekend double dip at War Memorial Gym.

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