EDMONTON – Fourth-year outside hitter Kory White netted a match-high 20 kills to improve her conference-leading season total to 234, the University of Alberta Pandas sweeping the defending national champion and No.9 UBC Thunderbirds with a straight-sets victory (25-15, 25-21, 25-20), Saturday night at Saville Community Sports Centre.
With the final weekend of the 2019 half of the regular season coming to a close, White tops the conference with a 5.087 kills-per-set average, far ahead of Trinity Western’s Hilary Howe in second place, averaging at a 4.195 clip. If White maintains this pace, she'll break both the team (4.873; Jenny Cartmell, 1998-99 season) and Canada West season records (5.065; Rachel Cockrell, Manitoba, 2014-15).
Third-year outside hitter Julia Zonneveld added 11 kills while third-year setter Elyse Hart recorded a match-high 36 assists. Third-year middle Gabrielle Attieh and sophomore outside hitter Brynn Pasin tallied 11 kills apiece for the T-birds, sophomore setter Kayla Oxland putting up 29 assists.
Down 2-0 to open the first set, Alberta then scored six consecutive points, propelled by two Vanessa Jarman aces, and never relinquished their lead.
A late 5-1 run put Alberta up by nine, inevitably leading to a set win when Attieh put her UBC attack attempt into the net.
After an early back and forth on the scoreboard to start the second set, White scored half the points in an 8-4 run by the Pandas, including two straight kills to pass into fourth all-time in team history in career conference kills.
Two late Jarman kills got Alberta to set point before White scored her 12th off the block and out the opposite side for a 2-0 set lead for the Pandas.
The defending champs didn’t give up in the final frame, however, starting with a 7-2 lead in the third set, paced by three kills and one ace by Pasin. Yet some timely team blocking and more kills courtesy of White brought the home team level with UBC at 12-12.
Soon after, a 7-0 run by the Pandas put them up 21-15 on the scoreboard, and perhaps unsurprisingly, White finished off the match when her attack off the block found open court in the middle of UBC attackers.
Alberta improves to 7-5 to finish the 2019 half of the regular season and will start the 2020 half on the road against Brandon on January 3-4. The 6-6 T-birds have an extra week off before returning to Edmonton to face off against the MacEwan Griffins (January 10-11).
Game notes: Previously fourth in team history in career conference kills were Tiffany Proudfoot (948; 2006-11) and Kacey Otto (948; 2012-17).