Mike Still, Bison Sports
WINNIPEG — Fuelled by a .312 hitting percentage, the Manitoba Bisons were able to make quick work of the UBC Okanagan Heat, coming out with a 3-0 win (25-12, 25-14, 25-17) on Saturday night at Investors Group Athletic Centre.
Middle Jocelyn Koswin paced the hosts with 12 kills and a .688 hitting percentage, while the team had 14 service aces total. The Heat's best player was outside hitter Ann Richards, who had seven kills.
"I just like our consistency. In every area we were solid," Bisons head coach Ken Bentley said postgame. "Mentally and emotionally we were consistent as well, which was the most pleasing part for me. There weren't a lot of ups and downs. We just played mature volleyball today."
The hosts erupted to an early 8-2 lead in the first set, forcing UBCO to take a quick timeout. The Abbott sisters — Kearley and Josie — played a huge role in reference to the score, combining for four service aces.
Performance at the service line continued to be a factor after the technical timeout, with the Bisons up 16-5. Setter Kelsey Jordan and left side Laura Findlay added to Manitoba's numbers in that department in what resulted in a quick 25-12 win.
Middle Aidan Lea was UBCO's biggest threat, tallying four kills, however she couldn't keep pace with the seven kills from Koswin, whose hitting percentage was a ridiculous .778. As a team, Manitoba hit a strong .333 while the Heat managed a .167 percentage.
The hosts went up 11-4 quickly in the second set on the strength of two more Findlay service aces, however UBCO clawed back, reducing the deficit to as little as three thanks to strong play at the net from middle Sadie Taylor-Parks. She had a kill and two blocks, one of which was solo.
But the Bisons firepower was too much, as they took a 16-10 lead at the technical timeout and surrendered just four points after in a second set win. Libero Cassie Bujan had six digs in the set and 13 after two, making her presence felt on some big rallies, while Koswin added three more kills and continued to hit the stuffing out of the ball with an .833 hitting percentage.
The third set was the most competitive of the contest. The Heat had their first lead of the game early at 2-1 and looked confident at the net, thanks in part to outside hitter Sydney Grills, who produced five kills overall.
But Manitoba continued to put the pressure on at the service line, getting two in that department from Findlay and one from middle Allison Alcock, who also hit .857 overall. They led 16-12 at the technical timeout and again took control in the latter stage of the set for a win.
Next up for the Bisons (8-8) is a road tilt against Saskatchewan, while UBCO (2-14) will travel to face UBC.