WVB: Dinos win battle of first-place teams

WVB: Dinos win battle of first-place teams

Olivia Krol, Dinos Communications

CALGARY – In a matchup featuring two 8-2 squads, the University of Calgary Dinos women's volleyball team swept the UBC Okanagan Heat 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-23) on Thursday night at the Jack Simpson Gymnasium.

Playing in front of a boisterous crowd for the Dinos' Block Party, Calgary was able to overcome some nervous energy to win three-straight tight sets. 

The Dinos outhit the Heat, .188 to .144.  UBCO's best offensive set came in the final one, as the Heat hit .233 as a team, with 11 kills and just four errors.

"I think the energy of the crowd kept us riled up. The fact that we were playing such a big team, with whom we have history from last year, as well as the return of Kate Pexman, all contributed to a high-energy game," said Beth Vinnell following the match.

With the win, the Dinos become the first team in Canada West to reach nine wins at 9-2, while the Heat drop to 8-3 on the season.

The Heat got off to a quick start in the opening set, building a 8-2 lead early on. The Dinos pulled within two at 12-14, following a kill by Pexman, which put the Dinos within striking distance.The score remained close with the Heat leading 21-18, but a kill by Jaylynn Moffatt started a eight-point rally and was capped by with a superb play by Vinnell to clinch the set 25-21.

The second set was a close one for the majority of play, as the two teams were tied up several times throughout. The back-and-forth play continued to 19-19, when an attack error by Siobhan Fitzpatrick gave Calgary the 20-19 advantage. The Dinos continued to lead by two, and refused to give up control, finding their way to set point, and ultimately taking the set 25-21. 

The third set was another close one, as the Heat fought back after the Dinos opened the set with a 2-0 advantage. A kill from Pexman and a series of errors increased the lead to 6-3, which later turned into 10-8 and 15-14. The Heat managed to tie things up at 16-16 and went on to take a small lead. Hungry for a sweep, the Dinos swiftly took a 24-22 lead on an attack error by Aidan Lea and it was a kill by Vinnell that clinched the set 25-23. 

"I was really proud of the team today, especially in the first set. I don't think the initial deficit was a reflection of how we were playing; we were simply in some long rallies that we happened to lose," said Dinos head coach Natalie Gurnsey. "That is to be expected from the Heat though - they are a solid defensive team, and they make good block choices. This challenged us, but we're a great defensive team as well. This is what a number one and two team in Canada West showdown looks like."

Pexman led the Dinos with 15 kills, while Beth Vinnell added 14 kills and Jaylynn Moffatt had seven. Brianna Solberg added three kills and no errors, while Kennedy Snape notched 11 digs. 

Ann Richards led the Heat with 16 kills as she hit .243.  She also added five digs to her stat line.  Aidan Lea noted 10 kills, while Sophia Furlan and Sara McCreary added 11 and 10 digs, respectively. 

These two teams will be back in action on Friday evening as they take the court for a 5 p.m. start time.