The UBC Okanagan Heat lived up to its billing as the No. 1-ranked team in CIS women’s volleyball with a pair of convincing wins on opening weekend of the Canada West season.
The Heat took care of the visiting University of Regina Cougars with sweeps on back-to-back nights on the Kelowna campus.
On Friday, UBCO prevailed 3-0 (25-10, 25-11, 25-16).
Heat fifth-year senior Brianna Beamish finished the game with nine kills in 16 attacks, while Megan Festival had seven kills on 14 attacks and nine digs.
Fifth-year libero Kailin Jones had seven digs, while Siobhan Fitzpatrick made an impact off the bench with nine attacks on the Cougars and created exciting rallies and saves for the Heat. The Immaculata grad closed out the first set with her only kill.
On Saturday, a repeat performance by the Heat in a 3-0 win (25-21, 25-19, 25-21).
Kaitlynn Given paced the Heat with 11 kills, while Megan Festival and Brianna Beamish finished with eight an seven kills respectively.
Emily Oxland and Katy Klomps each contributed three aces.
Steve Manuel’s Heat (2-0) will head to Saskatoon this weekend for two matches, Friday and Saturday against the Saskatchewan Huskies.
Greg Poitras’ Heat men rebounded from a loss in the season opener to earn a weekend split with the Regina Cougars in Canada West action at UBCO.
On Friday, U of R scored a 3-1 victory (28-26, 18-25, 25-23, 25-20).
The Heat’s Lars Bornemann had 16 kills for and 10 digs, while middle Joshua Harvey followed with 11 kills and two digs.
Two players playing in their first CIS match showed a promise of good things to come for UBC Okanagan. Rookie Eli Risso got the start at libero on Friday and had an extraordinary first regular season game with eight digs.
Risso’s KSS teammate Devon Cote had a block and a pair of kills, while Jory Dickie recorded a dig and hit his spot from the service line.
On Saturday, the Heat returned the favour with a 3-1 win over Regina (25-17, 13-25, 25-21, 25-16).
Jim Bell led the Heat with 11 kills and seven digs, while Lars Bornemann had 10 kills and seven digs. Josh Harvey had nine kills on 13 swings. Rookie libero Eli Risso, starting in his second straight match, topped both squads with 12 digs.
The Heat (1-1) will join the UBCO women in Saskatoon this weekend for two matches with the U of S Huskies.