The UBC Okanagan Heat has already made history with a season-high 20 victories.
This weekend, Steve Manuel’s squad will look to achieve another monumental first for the program—a Canada West conference regular season championship.
The Heat (20-2) will close out the 2015-16 schedule with matches against Mount Royal Friday and Saturday at the Kelowna campus gym.
A sweep would ensure UBC Okanagan both a conference title and a berth as the hosts of the Final Four tournament on March 4 and 5.
Manuel acknowledges winning Canada West in just the program’s fifth season would be a major achievement for Heat. Still, Manuel said his team’s success, as always, hinges on staying in the moment.
“We haven’t talked too much about wins or what they’ll mean, it’s just always about keeping our foot on the gas, doing what we have to do point in and point out, set in and set out to win and the rest will take care of itself,” said Manuel, the Heat’s head coach.
“We know the Canada West regular season title is well within our grasp, and to be able to host the Final Four in our gym, for the fans who have supported us so well would be a great accomplishment.”
Saturday night’s match will mark the official farewell for six players from the women’s program—Brianna Beamish, Katelyn DeJong, Kailin Jones, Chandler Proch, Katy Klomps and Katie Wuttunee.
Three players from the Heat men’s team will also bid adieu—Jeremy Fostvelt Kyle Pankratz and Leo Schober.
Beamish, who was a rookie during the Heat’s first season in the CIS, said her graduating teammates are sure to enjoy the recognition, but a bigger goal awaits.
“Saturday night will be special to us I think it will hit us that time is winding down, but honestly we’ll be trying to think of this as any other weekend,” Beamish said. “There’s still so much we want to accomplish. We want to win these matches and host the Final Four.”
The women’s matches against Mount Royal are set for 6 p.m. Friday and 5 p.m. Saturday at the UBCO gym.
The Heat men will play the Cougars at 8 p.m. Friday and 7 p.m. Saturday.