September 24, 2012, GUELPH, ON - The Heat kicked off exhibition play in Guelph on Friday, taking on the host University of Guelph team. They started strong, but lost to the Gryphons in four sets (12-25, 26-24, 25-19, 25-20).
"We played very well early on and controlled the first set completely," noted head coach Steve Manuel. "We continued playing well in the second set but made way too many unforced errors and let it slip away."
For Friday, outside hitters Megan Festival (1st year, Calgary, AB) and Myrte Schön (4th year, Langley, BC) led the Heat offense with seven kills on the night apiece. 6'2" middle Katy Klomps (2nd year, Surrey, BC) contributed six kills to the Heat offensive effort. Third year libero Kailin Jones (Kelowna, BC) put up 13 digs, while freshman Emily Oxland (North Vancouver, BC) chipped in 7.
On Sunday there were no fewer than three newcomers on the floor at any one time as the Heat played with a lot of energy and passion in their final exhibition game against the Gryphons. The women played a much better match Sunday according to coach Manuel today to defeat Guelph 3-0 (25-10, 25-21, 25-19).
The first set between both clubs was close in the early stages, but clutch serving by outside hitter Kaitlynn Given (1st year, Kelowna, BC), middle Katie Wuttunee (2nd year, North Vancouver, BC) and setter Emily Oxland (1st year, North Vancouver, BC) sent the Heat on a 16-3 run to clinch the first set. In the second set, the Gryphons played tough, taking a 15-10 lead. However, the young Heat squad showed a lot of composure and clawed their way back to go on a 15-6 run and up two sets to none. The third set was a carbon copy of the second set, close early on with the Gryphons taking a 15-11 lead. At 14-18, it looked as if the Heat were headed to a fourth set, but Kendra Wayling (4th year, Castlegar, BC) stepped to the service line and ran off nine straight serves to put the match out of reach for Guelph.
"This was an outstanding training and competition weekend for us," head coach Steve Manuel said. "Both teams used the weekend to experiment a bit with lineups while working on preparing for league play. We saw some things that we need to work on but we also saw some very bright spots in our lineup."
Wuttunee tallied 13 points in the game with seven kills, four aces, and two blocks. Given added an additional 11 points, while middle Katy Klomps (2nd year, Surrey, BC) established a dominance at the net with five kills and five blocks.
The Heat will return to their training regime for the next few weeks until they compete in the West Coast Classic on October 19-21 in Vancouver. The Heat will begin the regular season the following weekend against Thompson Rivers on Saturday, October 27th, at home in Kelowna.