The UBC Okanagan Heat women’s volleyball squad had the pleasure of hosting for the final regular season match of the year Saturday night, and they would coast in straight sets versus the shorthanded Brandon Bobcats (25-15, 25-20, 25-19).
It was senior’s night at UBC Okanagan gymnasium, which recognized fifth-year outside hitter Myrte Schön (Langley, BC) for her outstanding contributions. She wound up with three kills and six digs off the bench.
Fourth-year Brianna Beamish (Surrey, BC) led all attackers with 11 kills and dug up ten balls along the way.
The Bobcats were left without the services of second-year New Zealand product Vaovai Aiono, who did not dress for the night. She had led her team a night prior with 11 kills.
Picking up the slack in Saturday’s duel of budding rivals was fourth-year leftside Shanlee McLennan (Winnipeg, MB), who did a bit of everything to finish with a team-high eight kills, four service aces, and seven digs.
A concerted defensive effort at the net kept things interesting for Brandon in the second set, where they would come closest to the Heat, though ultimately falling by five points. The Bobcats and Heat tied with 12 block assists total, though the latter also had three solo blocks to win the defensive battle therein.
Excellent pressure from the service line kept by the Heat kept their opponents off balance all match long. The Okanagan squad recorded ten service aces with setter Chandler Proch (Kelowna, BC) leading the way with three.
The Bobcats won several more longer rallies than not, with the Heat capitalizing early on most of the time with either a deft serve or a strong hit from the wings that found gaps in their defenders’ arms.
Brandon’s Donata Huebert led the match with 18 digs.
The Playoff Picture
UBC Okanagan now completes the 2014-15 season with a 19-5 record, the 19 wins breaks the Heat’s previous high of 15 wins set in 2013-13. The new high water mark in wins for the club will have the Heat tied for 1st in Canada West, yet with the tiebreaker system in Canada West the Heat will be the third ranked team entering the postseason. Brandon meanwhile slips to 13-11, good for sixth or possibly the seventh seed in the conference.
Brandon will finish seventh if Manitoba can win its thirteenth Sunday versus MacEwan and will travel to Langley to play Trinity Western, the No. 2 seed. If Manitoba loses tomorrow Brandon will be back here for the quarterfinals this Fri-Sun.
If Manitoba wins tomorrow they will travel to Kelowna for the quarter-final matchup with UBC Okanagan.
The Canada West Quarter final, a best-of-three, will take place at UBC Okanagan regardless of opponent on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Friday night’s match will get underway 6 p.m. in the UBC Okanagan gymnasium.
Watch the playoff action online and stream live stats at canadawest.tv.
Myrte Schön, the fifth year outside hitter from Langley, is one of the last remaining athletes at UBC Okanagan to compete in the CCAA. In fact, the Nursing student played at UBC Okanagan in the BCCAA conference for one year after transferring from Columbia Bible College. Myrte played one year for the Bearcats after graduating from Langley Christian Secondary; she transferred to a two time defending national champion UBC Okanagan Heat team and stepped right into a starting role.
In the 2010/11 season, the last in the CCAA for UBC Okanagan, Myrte would be named the Heat Women’s Volleyball most improved player, was named BCCAA Provincial All-Star, BCCAA Provincial Tournament All-Star and CCAA National Tournament All-Star.
2012-13 was her fourth year and Myrte was once again second on the team in kills, the third straight year she achieved this mark. Taking a year off after gaining entry in the Nursing program Myrte sat out the 2013/14 season as a red-shirt and trained with the team, deciding to finish her career in 2014/15. This season has been a bumpy one for the consistent assassin but as the season nears the playoffs Myrte is once again playing excellent volleyball – last weekend at Mount Royal Schön tallied 20 kills.
Myrte finishes with 504 kills in her career at UBC Okanagan, good enough for eighth in school history. The teams at UBC Okanagan that the Langley native have played on have consistently won over 60 per cent of their games. Overall record: (76-48 .613), regular season: (54-27 .667).
“It has been some of the best years of my life,” said Schön after the match.
“I could not say that I would be where I am if it was not for volleyball, and for the coaches that we have on the team. They help me with everything. I grew as a person, I grew as a player, I definitely grew in my schooling too,” espoused the Langley native on her journey at UBC Okanagan. “I would not be in the nursing program if it wasn’t for Rob [Johnson, Athletics Director] and Steve [Manuel, coach] who had vouched for me to get in. It has just been an awesome experience.”
Describing the team atmosphere over the years, Schön simply compared it to “family,” adding, “We lean on each other, we help each other out when we need. And a lot of that has to do with the coaches, choosing the right personalities that fit with the team. It’s been great.”
Schön has described herself as a “silent leader” on the squad, often diverting attention away from herself and instead focusing on the group as a collection who all work together cohesively.
When asked for her favourite memory or story from the years to share, she admitted to there being “too many,” but shed some light on one particular gem: “In Alex Basso’s [former standout outside hitter] last year, Steve made an ‘Alex Basso Pinnie of Shame,’ and he made whoever [messed up] wear it.”
Prompted as to whether she ever had to don said pinnie, Schön laughed. “It was mostly for Basso. I never wore it.”