Heat men take Canada West playoff chase to final weekend
The UBC Okanagan Heat's quest for a playoff berth in their inaugural season of CIS men's volleyball competition will come down to the last weekend of the regular campaign.
The Heat remain alive for the seventh and final berth after a dramatic victory over the Saskatchewan Huskies Saturday night in Saskatoon.
UBCO fended off five match points for a 3-2 win (23-25, 25-20, 28-26, 18-25, 18-16) to avoid a weekend sweep at the hands of the Huskies, and push their season record to 6-12.
UBC Okanagan will host Thompson Rivers this coming weekend, and will need two victories to try and surpass Winnipeg (7-13) for the final playoff spot.
As for the Heat's effort Saturday, their head coach watched his team dig deep for the crucial win.
"To say that (the match) was an epic battle would be an understatement. Every player on the floor had to make a clutch play," said Heat coach Greg Poitras. "Some of our guys struggled at times and their teammates did a great job keeping their minds focused and staying aggressive. Our wing players dug deep and found ways to score. I was extremely happy with the composure we showed with so much on the line, with so much adversity."
On Saturday, outside hitter Nate Speijer had 22 kills and five aces for the Heat, while fellow outside hitter Riley McFarland added 20 kills and two aces.
On Friday, the Huskies downed the Heat 3-0 (25-16, 25-13, 25-23).
McFarland delivered 10 kills, while setter Preston Tucker supplied 24 assists.
The Heat will host TWU this Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. in the biggest matches of the program's brief Canada West existence.
“We will need the Heat student body and Heat volleyball community in full force at ‘The Furnace’ next Friday and Saturday,” added Poitras.
Heat women win 2
The absence of a playoff future didn't hinder the Heat women who swept the hometown Saskatchewan Huskies in Canada West action.
On Friday, outside hitter Myrte Schön tallied a match-high 15 kills and six digs for the Heat in a 3-0 (25-23, 26-24, 25-20) win over the winless Huskies.
First year Katy Klomps added seven kills and one solo block, Libero Lenai Schmidt recorded 13 digs, while setter Chandler Proch had 28 assists.
"We played a solid match and were able to keep an even flow throughout,” said Heat head coach Steve Manuel. “Myrte's been injured and playing the last few weeks with a pulled abdominal. She's feeling a lot better, she's worked through it and I think she's pretty much over it."
On Saturday, the Heat recorded 13 service aces to take down Saskatchewan 3-1(22-25, 25-18, 25-15, 25-10).
Proch had three aces, while Jill Festival and Klomps recorded two apiece.
Schön, the top gun for setter Proch, led the team with 15 kills, including a back-row attack to set up game point in the third game. Klomps had eight kills, and Festival added three stuff blocks.
The Heat (5-13) will complete their first season of CIS competition this weekend when they host Thompson Rivers.
Matches start at 6 p.m. both nights at the UBCO gym
The UBC Okanagan Heat battled but, in the end, couldn't muster enough opposition against the Victoria Vikes in Canada West basketball action.
Both the women's and men's squads were swept by UVic on their home court on the next-to-last weekend of their inaugural season of CIS competiton.
In women's action Friday, the Vikes blew open a relatively close game in the second quarter, then went on for a 74-46 win.
Both teams were clad in pink as the game was part of the WBCA Shoot for the Cure, with money being raised for the fight against breast cancer.
The Vikes offense was led by guard Deborah Yeboah who scored a game high 18 points.
Freshman guard Emily Kanester scored a team high 11 points for UBCO and was the only Heat player to score in the double digits against the defensively sound UVic team.
Krystal Schouten added eight points, while each player grabbed five rebounds.
On Saturday, Roz Huber's huge 25-pioint effort wasn't enough as the Heat fell to Victoria 86-61.
Vikes' Deborah Yebaoh scored 17 of her team high 21 in the first half, hitting 10-20 from the floor.
Kanester and Schouten added eight points apiece for UBCO.
Despite the defeat, Heat head coach Heather Semeniuk was happy with her team's improved effort over the previous night.
"I thought we showed a high level and desire to compete (Saturday), just a few bodies short, 22-20 after the first quarter, even the 45-37 halftime score—those were both positives."
The Heat (2-14) will close out their first Canada West season this weekend with a home-and-home set against Thompson Rivers.
The teams will play Saturdsay in Kamloops, then Sunday, 4 p.m. at UBCO.
The UBCO men went down to defeat twice to the seventh-ranked and bigger Vikes team, opening the weekend with a 76-49 loss on Friday.
The Vikes’ star player Ryan MacKinnon hit 1,300 career points, scoring a game high 21 points against the Heat.
Yassine Ghomari shared a team high 10 points for the Heat along with Steve who also grabbed four rebounds.
“They are definitely bigger than us,” said assistant coach Neale. “We didn’t do very good job of boxing them out, especially in the first half. They scored a lot of second chance points on us.”
On Saturday, Victoria were stifling on defense as they disposed of the Heat 68-39.
MacKinnon led the Vikes in scoring for the thirteenth time this season with 19 points on 7-11 shooting.
Senior post player Simon Pelland led the way for the home squad with 16 points.
The Heat men wrap up their season this weekend with a home-and-home series vs Thompson Rivers, as the teams meet Saturday in Kamloops, and Sunday, 6 p.m. at UBCO.