Caitlin Nyhus is making sure her fifth and final season with the UBC Okanagan Heat women’s volleyball squad is a memorable one.
The veteran setter has been named the BCCAA’s athlete of the week after leading the Heat to a pair of home-court victories last weekend to close out the regular season.
On Senior’s Night Friday at the UBCO gym Nyhus—the only graduating member of the women’s team—paced the Heat to a 3-0 win over the Camosun Chargers. In addition to running an efficient offense, the Pen Hi grad delivered seven points on two kills, two blocks and three aces, and added four digs.
On Saturday in a first-place showdown against the Vancouver Island University Mariners, Nyhus was on her game again, dispersing the ball across the court, while recording five points and 14 digs as the Heat clinched top spot with a 13-1 record.
Nyhus’ performance last weekend was simply a continuation of what has been a stellar collegiate career. Over five seasons, she has two national national championship rings to her credit, a national bronze medal, two B.C. gold and two provincial silver medals.
Nyhus has played in 99 matches, including league and playoffs, and the Heat have won 88 of those. With her career quickly winding down, Nyhus plans to savour every moment as the Heat take aim at their third straight national championship.
“Obviously, I want to end it with another title,” said Nyhus. “(Head coach) Steve Manuel took me aside at Christmas and told me to just enjoy this, every game, every practise and every point in my last season, don’t let the small things bother me. And I’ve pretty much been able to do that.”
While Nyhus has tried to avoid reminiscing too much about her days in Heat colours before they’re actually over, she does look back at her five years in Kelowna with a deep sense of appreciation.
“It’s been an unreal experience,” she said. “My teammates are my friends. We’ve had a lot of success and fun together. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s been such a huge part of my life, it’s hard to believe it’s soon going to be over.”
Head coach Steve Manuel said Nyhus’ contributions to the Heat program can’t be overstated.
“Caitlin has been the recurring factor if we look at our success year after year,” said Manuel. “Other key players have come and gone but Cait has been been here throughout our team’s rise to the top. She has made the transition from one year to the next, with different lineups, appear seamless.
“Her work ethic is second to none and she has become an extremely dedicated student athlete. We will miss her next year but we are also grateful for the contribution that she has made to help prepare our team for Canada West competition”.
Nyhus and the Heat will host the BCCAA championship Feb. 24 to 26 at the UBCO gym.