Historic weekend as UBCO seniors closing out careers
It was one of those moments that will likely not be forgotten for some time, especially for fifth-year UBCO women's volleyball player Alex Basso.
Playing in her final regular season game with UBCO, Basso put down the final kill on Saturday night as the UBCO Heat won a five set victory over Brandon, allowing them to pass Mount Royal for fourth place, making them the host school for an upcoming playoff series with Mount Royal.
"Another character win by us," said head coach Steve Manuel following the match. "Brandon really took it to us and they played well, but we kept finding a way, finding a way. That's just our team. We just don't like doing it the easy way."
Although this wasn’t Basso’s best-ever performance, she battled the entire night, eventually finishing with a team-high 16 kills. on a night she was honoured for playing her final regular season game. Basso will be graduating with a Bachelor in Human Kinetics. However, it will not be the last time Heat fans will get to see her at home.
"I just feel really thankful to win that game," remarked Basso after the game, in between pictures and hugs from family and friends. "To pull through in this last game is a great way to end our season."
When asked about her time at UBC Okanagan, an emotional Basso was quick to direct attention away from herself.
"I love all my teammates and my head coach. It’s been an amazing ride and I couldn’t have asked for a better time."
Manuel could not say enough about his graduating outside hitter.
"She’s probably one of the most decorated college players ever," said Manuel. "If you look at individual awards won and the number of national championships won by her, I think that makes for a pretty strong argument that she is one of the best ever. I will be forever grateful to her contributions to this program."
The Heat will now head into the post-season and will host their first ever playoff series after finishing with a 15-7 record.
The Heat earned the right to host after the UBC Thunderbirds were able to dispatch the Mount Royal Cougars at War Memorial Gymnasium and drop the Cougars into fifth with a 14-8 record. The win for the Heat leapfrogs them into the fourth seed just ahead of the Cougars, and they will now host Mount Royal for a playoff best-of-three series Thursday, Friday and Saturday-if needed.
"I’m really looking forward to hosting MRU after splitting with them in their gym," finished Basso. "It will be exciting to see what we can do in our gym. I think we can give them a run for their money."
Game-time for the Canada West Quarter-final is slated for Thursday at 6 p.m.
The Heat men said goodbye to three seniors as it completed play without a playoff spot in Canada West men's volleyball play.
Riley McFarland (Surrey) Brett Uniat (Cochrane, AB) and Jeremy Kler (Vernon, BC) are all fifth-years who are graduating and will not return to the program and all three players have been instrumental for the program’s leap from the college leagues into the CIS during their storied careers.
"When I think back about this experience, it won’t be so much about the volleyball. It will be about the relationships I've made with all the people here at UBCO, from the coaches to my teammates," said Uniat.
McFarland said it's time to turn the page to a new chapter.
"It's been such a big part of my life, these past few years have. It's going to suck, but it's time to move on to new things I guess."'
Kelowna women's basketball player Roslyn Huber cemented her place in the UBCO record books on the weekend, becoming the all time leader in points scored at the school.
Huber passed Jenna Kantz on Friday night with her 862nd, and 863rd points to become the all-time leader in points at the school, finishing the night with nine points and five rebounds bringing her career numbers to 870 points and 558 rebounds – both all-time bests at the school.
“It was special to be able to accomplish something like that and beat the point’s record surrounded by my teammates and family on the road," said Huber, “but it would have been that much sweeter if we pulled out the win.”
The Heat would drop both games in Langley, losing 60-45 on Friday before a 74-65 loss Saturday. The Heat will close its season this weekend at home
Down by 21 with just nine minutes left was almost enough time for the UBC Okanagan Heat men’s basketball team to storm back versus the host Trinity Western Spartans. Unfortunately, the home team’s point guard Tristan Smith converted both his free throws with 1.8 seconds remaining as the Spartans escape with a 71-69 victory over the Heat as UBCO dropped a pair of games at Trinity on the weekend.
The last six games the Heat have played tremendously on the defensive side of the ball, keeping the squad in games versus a deep Canada West Pacific Division. Unfortunately for the young squad, the wins have not come easy, as the Heat have only been able to snatch a single win in the second half of the season
The loss drops the Heat to 3-18 while the victory moves the Spartans to 11-9 and puts them in a third spot in the Pacific Division, with one weekend remaining in Canada West conference play.
The Heat will will miss the playoffs, finishing the season and saying goodbye to graduating senior Dave Mack this Saturday when they host the Thompson Rivers WolfPack at 7 p.m. at UBCO.