The UBC Okanagan Heat women’s squad will continue to fine tune for the new Canada West volleyball season with a couple of scrimmage matches this weekend at the Kelowna campus gym.
The Heat will host the Fraser Valley Cascades on Saturday and Sunday.
The following weekend, Oct. 4 to 6, Steve Manuel’s crew will travel to the West Coast Classic, co-hosted by UBC and Trinity Western.
Last weekend, the Heat women took to the court for matches for the first time since their run to last spring’s Canada West playoffs and posted a 1-1 record against visiting teams.
On Saturday, UBCO held its own against the No. 2 ranked TWU Spartans before going down in four sets (21-25, 18-25, 26-24, 20-25).
“I thought we played quite well for most of the match,” Manuel said after the game. “I thought we controlled the second, and third and fourth set completely except for a few rotations. (We) just gave up a couple of runs and that cost us the set.”
With former Heat standout and outside hitter Alex Basso having graduated, a void was created on the offense, but that void looks already to be filling rapidly by second-year hitter Kaitlynn Given and third-year Brianna Beamish. The two each recorded 11 kills versus the Spartans.
In their second match, the Heat took care of the University of Saskatchewan Huskies 3-1 (25-20, 25-18, 17-25, 25-17).
Rutland grad Erin Drew was given ample playing time this time around, and did not squander it as she put up six kills and five blocks in the effort. Second-year hitter Megan Festival led the offensive charge for the heat, tallying the team’s best kill total of the day at 12.
Heat coach Steve Manuel and his staff played around with different lineups. While he had former Canada West All-Star Emily Oxland set the match versus the Spartans, third-year Chandler Proch started against the Huskies. Proch, a KSS grad, is returning from a season of red shirting after recovering from injury. Proch looked sharp, forming a solid blocking duo alongside middle Katy Klomps and continually stumped the Huskies.
“Emily set the first match, and (Saturday night) we gave the ball to Chandler, and I thought she did a great job,” Manuel said. “To me, we have a really great problem on our hands. We’ve got two setters who are really going to battle for a starting spot.”