Despite a tough second semester of volleyball, the UBC Okanagan Heat women will be in the Canada West playoffs for the second straight year.
The Heat are coming off a split in Winnipeg against the Manitoba Bisons, leaving both teams at 12-8 and in a tie for fourth spot in the conference.
If the clubs finish the season tied, the Heat and Bisons would meet head-on in the first round of the post-season with the matches to be played in Winnipeg.
Still, the exact playoff match-ups won’t be known until the regular season concludes this coming weekend.
The Heat, who have gone 2-6 since the beginning of the New Year, fell 3-0 (26-24, 25-17, 25-21) Friday night to the hometown Bisons. Megan Festival well 11 kills and 11 digs in the loss.
UBC Okanagan needed a win Saturday and responded to the challenge with a 3-2 victory (25-21, 25-18, 18-25, 25-23, 15-11) to officially clinch a playoff spot.
“I’m very proud with how our team responded,” said Heat coach Steve Manuel. “We’ve had a hard time finding our stride these past few weeks, so it’s great to see us playing well again. We’ve played such a tough schedule over the past three weeks.”
Kaitlynn Given had 13 kills and seven digs in Saturday’s win.
The Heat will wrap up the regular season this Friday and Saturday nights at home to the Regina Cougars (10-10).
The UBCO (4-16) men went down in a sweep at the hands of the University of Manitoba.
On Friday, the Bisons rolled to a 3-0 win (25-19, 25-21, 25-22). Jim Bell had two massive solo blocks for the Heat to bring his total to eleven over his past seven games. Bell had 5 of the Heat’s 15 total block assists on the night as well.
A notable absence from the Heat in this game was that of Nate Speijer, who did not dress with the team due to a shoulder injury.
On Saturday, the Heat pushed harder but still came up short 3-1 (25-13, 23-25, 26-24, 25-19). Bell had a solid game for the Heat with 11 kills on 17 attempts, while Alex Swiatlowski and Lars Bornemann combined for 64 attempts that netted the Heat 19 kills.
This weekend, the Heat men will wrap up their season at home against the University of Regina Cougars.