Heat men stay in playoff chase
While three UBC Okanagan varsity teams have watched their playoff hopes disappear, the Heat men's volleyball squad remains very much in the hunt in their inaugural season of CIS competition.
Greg Poitras' team swept a pair of matches from the visiting Regina Cougars over the weekend to stay in the chase for the seventh and final post season berth in Canada West.
On Friday night, the Heat outlasted Regina 3-2 (18-25, 25-23, 25-18, 23-25, 15-6) at the UBCO gym.
The Heat were led by fourth-year outside hitter Nate Speijer who had 24 kills and a .340 attack rate. Close behind was fellow outside hitter Riley McFarland who smacked 20 kills and grabbed seven digs. Team captain and setter Preston Tucker shot up 51 assists and grabbed a team high total of 13 digs.
The win ended an 11-game losing streak for UBCO.
On Saturday night, the Heat came out firing and completed the sweep with a 3-1 win.
Greg Niemantsverdriet led the Heat with a game-high 17 kills and 14 digs, while Nate Speijer pounded 15 kills of his own.
"We had a good team effort (Saturday) with a couple of guys coming off the bench for us," said Heat coach Greg Poitras. "We really served tough and had their setter off the net quite a bit. We like our chances with our defensive block, and we turned a lot of balls over as well on defense. We dug them and scored those points, not just sending free balls over the net."
The Heat push their record to 5-11 and are two games back of Winnipeg (7-11) for the final Canada West playoff spot with four matches to play.
This weekend, the Heat look for two more wins when they travel to Saskatoon to play the 3-13 Saskatchewan Huskies.
The UBC Okanagan women officially saw their playoff aspirations come to an end with a pair of home court losses to the University of Regina.
On Friday, UBCO put up a fight to the finish before going down to defeat 3-2 (21-25, 25-18, 15-25, 25-22, 15-11).
“We just were not able to find any rhythm, our timing was off in every aspect of our game,” said Heat head coach Steve Manuel. “Regina served and blocked extremely well; they were able to adjust and find ways to score while we were not able to make the necessary adjustments.”
The Heat’s outside hitter Alex Basso led the match with 16 kills and added 14 digs, while freshman middle Katy Klompsa had 11 kills. After nursing an injury and missing this week’s practices, setter Chandler Proch still came out strong to lead the match in 47 assists.
On Saturday, the Cougars needed the minimum three sets to topple the Heat (27-25, 25-22, 25-17).
Basso led the Heat with a team high 9 kills, while outside hitter Jill Festival added 8 kills. Sophomore libero Kailin Jones put up 12 digs.
At 3-13, the Heat's playoff hopes are officially done, but head coach Steve Manuel said his team still has plenty to play for over the final matches of the season.
"We still have a few goals that we want to accomplish," said Manuel. "We've come into the league and we've beaten nationally ranked teams that other teams have taken 5-6 years to beat. We want to continue to improve on that."
This weekend, the Heat will visit the University of Saskatchewan.
T'Birds drop Heat on hardwood
The hometown UBC Thunderbirds were too much for their Okanagan namesakes in Canada West basketball action, racking up weekend sweeps of the Heat in both men's and women's action.
In women's play Friday, the T'Birds took down UBCO 81-57. The Heat out-rebounded UBC and shot 40 per cent in the first half, but it wasn't nearly enough to overcome the No. 3-ranked team in the country.
Point guard Ashley Briker led the Heat with 16 points and three assists. Post Krystal Schouten, who got into foul trouble late in the game finished with seven points and six rebounds in 25 minutes of action.
Even with the loss the Heat’s bench boss Heather Semeniuk was still pleased with her team’s effort.
“They don't want to lose," Semeniuk said. "I'm very proud of them, every kid that came off the bench went out and played hard.”
On Saturday, the T'Birds stepped it up a notch to down the struggling Heat 71-40.
Both teams used the lopsided score as a chance to get their starters some rest while the bench played major minutes.
"The team was flat at the start of the game," said Semeniuk. "They [the T-Birds] came out really strong (Saturday), way stronger than (Friday). I think that combined with the fact that we struggled putting the ball in the hoop took us down a notch."
The Heat did put together an impressive rally late to outscore the T-Birds 23-15 in the fourth quarter. Ashley Briker led the team with nine points. Roslyn Huber scored six while adding five steals, four assists and four rebounds.
The Heat (2-12) will host Victoria this weekend, with tip off Friday and Saturday at 6 p.m.
Like the Heat women, the UBCO men were unable to push the Thunderbirds in either meeting in Vancouver.
On Friday, Thunderbirds coach Kevin Hanson notched his 300th career win in a 77-43 triumph over the Heat at War Memorial Gym.
The Heat's top offensive weapon, Yassine Ghomari, was held to seven points on 2-for-10 shooting. Simon Pelland had 10 points at half time but foul trouble limited his minutes in the second half, and he finished with a team-high 14.
“They really turned up their defense and we didn't make good decisions," said Heat coach Darren Semeniuk. "We didn't support the ball and it was a pretty effective move on their part against our small guards.”
On Saturday, Heat trailed the Thunderbirds by just nine points at the half but a disastrous third quarter really set the tone for a 78-48 UBC win.
The T'Birds outscored the visitors 25-8 in the third quarter to put the game away.
"To be down at nine at the half and to have played with them for 20 minutes was great," added Semeniuk. "We kept them under 80 (points) both games, and they're averaging 86 per game."
Second year Mack Roth was the only Heat player to score in double digits with 15 points on the night. Italian import Ed Dane Medi grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds.
The Heat, now 2-12, are back on their home court this weekend where they bhost Victoria on Friday and Saturday.