The UBC Okanagan Heat women’s volleyball squad looks to be in fine form heading into the 2015-16 Canada West season.
The Heat, who have made a pair of Final Four appearances in each of the last two years, posted a perfect 6-0 record in the preseason.
Steve Manuel’s team closed out its exhibition schedule at home on the weekend, taking back-to-back matches from the University of Alberta Pandas, the runners-up at nationals in 2015.
On Friday night at the Kelowna campus, UBCO need four sets to dispose of the Pandas, 25-18, 25-18, 25-23, and 25-18.
Fourth-year outside hitter Megan Festival dominated proceedings with 22 kills in 51 attempts for the Heat, while teammate Brianna Beamish led the defense with 15 digs.
On Saturday, UBCO needed all five sets before prevailing 17-25, 25-21, 25-13, 21-25, and 15-13, with Kaitlynn Given making the kill for the final point. Beamish and Given set the pace with 14 kills apiece, while fifth-year setter finished the night with a total of 44 assists and a service ace.
Manuel put a mixture of eveteran players and underclassman on the court for the majority of Saturday’s match. Erin Drew, getting a start in the preseason, was a valuable presence at the net as she led the Heat with five blocks.
The Heat will serve up the new Canada West season Friday, Oct. 16 when they host the Regina Cougars in a 6 p.m. start at UBCO.