With opening weekend as hard evidence, the UBC Okanagan Heat have served notice they will again be a serious contender in Canada West women’s volleyball.
The defending national bronze medalists launched the new campaign by taking a pair of matches off the visiting Brandon Bobcats at the Kelowna campus.
After a tentative strait Friday night, the No. 3 Heat prevailed 3-1 (16-25, 25-19, 25-22, 25-18) over the ninth-ranked Bobcats.
The UBC Okanagan attack was led by fifth-year outside hitter Megan Festival, who put away 13 kills in the match and added six service aces.
Third-year outside hitter Siobhan Fitzpatrick added 12 kills, while fourth-year middle Erin Drew had a match-high six blocks.
On Saturday, the Heat bumped their game up a notch for a 3-0 win (25-15, 25-17, 25-12) over Brandon.
Festival again provided punch for the Heat with nine kills. Fitzpatrick had another eight kills, while Kaitlynn Given supplied seven kills, nine digs and four blocks. Setter Emily Oxland finished with a game-high 24 assists.
Prior to the match, Oxland was awarded the prestigious Ray Lepp scholarship. The award is handed out yearly by Volleyball B.C. to two student athletes annually who have the potential to join the national team.
Also prior to Saturday’s match, Heat head coach Steve Manuel was presented with an autographed and framed T-shirt and photo of last year’s team that won the first program’s first ever national CIS medal.
The Heat (2-0) will have a week off before returning action Nov. 11 and 12 at home against the Manitoba Bisons.
Heat men split
With new head coach Brad Hudson at the controls, the UBC Okanagan men won their first match of the new Canada West season, beating Brandon 3-1 Friday night in Kelowna.
The Bobcats took the first set 25-22, before the Hear rallied to win 25-20, 25-21, 25-22.
UBC Okanagan’s Lars Bornemann led all hitters in the match with 18 kills, Joshua Harvey had nine blocks, while Hear libero Eli Risso supplied 22 digs.
On Saturday, Brandon answered back with a tightly-contested 3-0 win (26-24, 27-25, and 28-26.)
Bornemann was once again paced the UBCO attack with 12 kills.
Following a bye week, the Heat will host the Manitoba Bisons on Nov. 11 and 12 at the UBCO gym.