If their performance over the weekend in the nation’s capital can be used as an accurate measure, then the UBC Okanagan Heat should be bonafide contenders once again in CIS women’s volleyball.
Steve Manuel’s Heat, who began the week by meeting the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Monday on the Kelowna campus, capped it off by winning all five matches to capture the University of Ottawa Gees Gees’ tournament.
The defending national bronze medalists are now 7-0 in exhibition matches leading up to the 2016-17 Canada West campaign.
On opening day, UBCO faced a pair of tough opponents in Acadia and Sherbooke Universities and prevailed both times, 2-1.
After taking down Guelph 2-0 and the host Gee Gees 2-1 on Saturday to complete the round robin, the Heat advanced to Sunday’s final against McMaster.
In a tightly-contested match from start to finish the Heat pulled out with a 3-2 win (25-21, 19-25, 17-25, 28-26, and 15-12) over the Marauders.
Prior to the tournament, the Heat found time to meet with Kelowna-Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr, were treated to a tour of Parliament and attended question period.
In addition to the volleyball, the Heat’s Megan Festival said the trip it was an exciting cultural experience.
“It was a really exciting trip and I think our team gained a lot from it,” said Festival. “We got to tour parliament with our M.P. Stephen Fuhr and see the Famous Five Monument.
“It was a huge reminder that women had been considered persons for only the last 87 years.”
As for the tournament itself, Festival said it was a great way to tune up for the new season.
“The volleyball was also a very high level and the east coast style of play was fast and aggressive, which was a great challenge for us,” said Festival. “The finals were very tense and competitive but we saw a glimpse of what our team is capable of and that was exciting.”
The Heat will resume their preseason when they travel to Canmore for a weekend of training with the University of Alberta from Friday, Oct. 21 through Sunday, Oct. 23.
UBCO opens the regular season Oct. 28 at home to Brandon.
The UBC Okanagan men’s squad hosted a four-team round robin invitational tournament over the weekend and gained some valuable experience in the preseason event.
Under new head coach Brad Hudson, the Heat pushed the Thompson Rivers Wolfpack in their opener before losing in five sets.
UBCO Okanagan, which went 0-3 for the weekend, also played matches against Mount Royal (3-0) and the Huskies (3-1).
“We were happy to host Mount Royal University, the University of Saskatchewan and Thompson Rivers,” said Hudson. “All three were well coached and exceptionally competitive despite being the preseason. This type of preseason competition is essential to help prepare our team for whats to come.”
The Heat’s next preseason action Oct. 20 at UBC Vancouver against Mount Royal.