Top-ranked Heat men’s v’ballers stay in first
The No. 1 nationally-ranked UBC Okanagan Heat men’s volleyball team solidified its hold on top spot in the BCCAA and gained a measure of payback in the process.
On Saturday night in Kelowna, the Heat rolled to a 3-0 (25-14, 25-21, 25-18) win over the Fraser Valley Cascades, who had handed UBCO its only defeat of the season back on Oct. 30.
With “unfinished business” as motivation, veteran power hitter Nate Speijer was to next to unstoppable and was named the Heat’s player of the match.
“Nate is one of those guys who keeps to himself, but you know when he’s ready to go,” said Heat setter Preston Tucker.“And tonight it was pretty obvious he was ready to go. He’s one of the leaders on this team and we look to him to have big games.”
On Friday night, the Heat started slowly, then cruised past Columbia Bible College 3-1 (20-25, 25-22, 25-18, 25-17).
Greg Niemantsverdriet was named UBCO’s Eastside Mario’s player of the match.
The Heat have won seven straight matches and top the conference at 9-1.
With just four matches to go in the regular season and the provincials to be hosted at UBCO next month, Tucker likes the direction the Heat are headed in.
“We’ll continue to get better,” Tucker said. “We want to peak at the right time. Ultimately we want to peak at provincials.”
The Heat hit the road this weekend for matches at Capilano and Douglas College.
The two-time defending national champ UBCO women rebounded from their first loss in 37 matches prior to the first semester break with a weekend sweep on their home court.
On Friday, the Heat were pushed by CBC but still prevailed (25-18, 25-23, 25-21) as Alex Basso was named player of the match.
“It’s hard coming back after Christmas holidays and not playing for two months,” Basso said. “I think we still have a lot of things to work on.”
On Saturday, the Heat turned it up a notch to dispose of the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades 3-0 (25-17, 25-14, 25-20).
Setter Caitlyn Nyhus picked up player of the match honours.
“[Saturday] was tenfold better,” said Kaylan Gouldsborough, comparing Saturday’s win to Friday’s sluggish start against the Bearcats.
“We were focused more in the team room before the game.”
The Heat (9-1) will travel to the Lower Mainland for matches this weekend against Caplino and Douglas.
UBCO wraps up the regular season at home Feb. 4 and 5, then will have two weeks off before hosting provincials Feb. 24 to 26.