The fourth-ranked Heat will host the Regina Cougars Friday at UBC Okanagan’s Kelowna campus gym. -Image: UBC Okanagan Heat athletics

Heat women persist among Canada’s best

Ranked fourth, UBC Okanagan has been in the top 10 in Canada since early 2014

Not since early in 2014 has the UBC Okanagan Heat been outside the top 10 in the U Sports national women’s volleyball rankings.

After a bye week, one of the country’s most consistent and successful programs in recent Canada West history returns to its home court for a pair of matches against the University of Regina Cougars.

Currently occupying the No. 4 spot, Steve Manuel’s Heat (6-2) have spent 48 consecutive ranking weeks in the same company as the best teams in Canada.

Despite the departures of top-end players such as Katy Klomps, Breanna Beamish, Katie Wuttunee, Emily Oxland and Kaitlynn Given over the last couple of seasons, the Heat program has managed to endure as one of the teams to beat in Canada West.

Led by the likes of Siobhan Fitzpatrick, Sara McCreary and Michelle Jakszuk, among others, the 2017-18 version of the Heat is carrying on the standard set down by teams of the previous three seasons—56 wins in 72 conference matches.

Manuel, who is in his 16th season as the Heat’s head coach, said much of the program’s success stems from the ongoing development and inclusion of each and every player on the UBCO roster.

“We’ve worked very hard to maintain the same level of play we’ve come to expect over the last few years,” said Manuel, whose team won a Canada West silver and national bronze medal in 2016. “As a staff, we’ve worked hard to develop our whole group, not just our stars, and we tend to play a lot of our players right from the start of the season. So when people move on, others are ready to step in and do the job when their time comes.

“It’s worked well for us.”

As for his team’s 6-2 start to the new season, Manuel said he couldn’t have asked for much more from the Heat.

“All in all, I’d say we’re doing a little better than expected,” he said. “I kind of felt with the graduation of some of key players, it might take a little while going, especially playing teams like Mount Royal and Trinity early. To be 6-2, I couldn’t ask for any more.”

The Heat look to keep their 2017-18 campaign on the winning track this weekend against the Cougars who bring a 5-5 record into Kelowna.

The teams will face off Friday at 6 p.m., then again at 5 p.m. on Saturday at UBCO’s Kelowna campus.

“They’re a very athletic and well-coached team,” Manuel said of Regina. “They’ve played well against some ranked teams early, they beat Mount Royal in a five-setter, so we expect them to be tough.”

Heat basketball…

After a week off, both UBC Okanagan basketball teams return to the hardwood this weekend in Abbosford. On Friday and Saturday, the Heat will take on the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades.

Claire Meadows’ UBCO women’s squad (0-6) will be pursuing its first win of the Canada West season against UFV (2-6).

Pete Guarasci’s Heat men have a 2-4 record, while the Cascades are 2-6.

Fourth-year Heat guard Aldrich Berrios heads into the weekend 20 points shy (980) of 1,000 for his Canada West career.

UBC Okanagan’s next home action is Dec. 1 and 2 against the Manitoba Bisons.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


@capnewsports

whenderson@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Trial dates set for Central Okanagan RCMP officer charged with sexual assault

The trial is set for four days, taking place from Aug. 31 through Sept. 3

Budget for Central Okanagan School District increased by $11M

The proposed budget is now $275.6 million for 2019/2020 school year

Abandoned boats left to freeze on Okanagan Lake cause chaos

Over the last week weather conditions have caused three separate incidents

Kelowna wheelchair curling champion returns to skip at BC Championships

Gerry Austgarden will look to avenge the second place finish at last year’s finals

Jack-knifed semi closes Coquihalla northbound

A red liquid is reportedly spilled down the side of Highway 5

WHO says China virus not global health emergency

The decision came after Chinese authorities moved to lock down three cities on Thursday

Plan in works to keep Salmon Arm’s homeless people warm in extreme weather

Advocate aims higher, wants a 24/7 friendship centre operating in city

VIDEO: ‘Porn’ answer was a wrong one for Surrey family on ‘Feud’ game show

Surrey’s Rams competed on the TV show Wednesday night

B.C. teacher witnesses coronavirus terror in Shanghai: ‘Everyone is on edge’

Face masks and hand sanitizer ‘sell out’ as 9 SARS-like illness cases confirmed in the city

B.C.-based firefighting plane crashes in Australia, killing three

Three people are confirmed dead in the crash in New South Wales

North Okanagan kicks off Family Literacy Week with free books

Province proclaimed Family Literacy Week in B.C. from Jan. 26 to Feb. 2

Highway 1 to close west of Revelstoke for avalanche control

DriveBC says the road will be closed between 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Living near major roads linked to higher risk of dementia, Parkinson’s: UBC study

Green space could mitigate some of the risks, researchers found

Most Read