The UBC Okanagan Heat women once again proved they are more than worthy of occupying the same court as the nation’s elite volleyball teams.
The Heat gained a new level of respect at home over the weekend, earning a split with the No. 1-ranked Trinity Western Spartans.
On Saturday, UBCO halted Trinity’s nine-game Canada West winning streak with a four-set victory (25-19, 13-25, 26-24, 25-17).
“I am really proud of my team,” said Heat middle Emily Carroll. “We came into this game with confidence, showed them what we’re made of and that we belong in the top 10.”
The Heat was led by the duo of Alexandra Basso and Myrte Schön who combined for a total 84 attempts on the night. Basso finished with 13 kills, while Schön had 12.
On Sunday, in the last match before Christmas, the Spartans gained a measure of revenge, defeating the Heat 3-1 (25-18, 12-25, 25-13, 25-23).
“A great fight against the number one team in the country,” said Heat head coach Steve Manuel. “As far as I’m concerned we lost the match (Sunday) but we won the weekend.”
Basso led the Heat with nine kills, while fourth year outside hitter Jillian Festival added five kills. Lenai Schmidt and freshman Megan Festival had eight digs apiece.
The Heat now have a few weeks off for final exams, and then for the remainder of the holidays they will be traveling to San Diego for exhibition play.
When league play resumes next semester after the Christmas break, the Heat will visit the University of Regina Cougars on Jan. 12.
The UBCO ended the pre-Christmas Canada West schedule without a victory.
Without all-Canadian Nate Speijer since the beginning of the season, the Heat fell twice to Trinity Western at home on the weekend to slip to 0-12.
On Friday, the No. 3 ranked Spartans downed the Heat 3-1 (25-22,25-14,21-25,25-21).
Fifth-year senior Riley McFarland paced the Heat with 16 kills.
On Saturday, UBCO won the first two sets, but couldn’t close the deal as TWU won the match in five sets (20-25, 22-25, 25-19, 25-13, 15-9.)
Fifth-year middle and player of the game Brett Uniat had 12 kills, four digs and six blocks. Second-year setter Jon Russo, playing outside hitter Sunday night, had 13 kills and eight digs.
After final exams, the Heat will travel to Los Angeles for the holidays to take part in NCAA exhibition play.
Following Christmas break, UBC Okanagan will resume league play in Regina against the Cougars Jan. 12 and 13.