The UBC Okanagan Heat women’s volleyball squad continued to tune up for the Canada West season by posting a 1-3 record at the West Coast Classic in Vancouver.
The Heat finished up the tournament on Sunday with a straight-set loss to the University of Alberta Pandas (25-19, 25-15, 25-20).
The West Coast Classic saw the Heat play a match Friday night, two on Saturday and then one Sunday morning. With such a full schedule the Heat found themselves a bit nicked up going into the Sunday morning match and were without the services of a couple of their veteran players.
Although the Heat lost in three sets, head coach Steve Manuel thought his team performed well against the Pandas, always one of the top teams in Canada, particularly in the first and third sets.
“We played them real tight until about the seventeenth or eighteenth point and then they would go on a real quick run and the set would end,” Manuel said. “It was kind of like one of those basketball games where the score is close until two minutes to play and one team makes a couple of baskets and the other team has a couple of misses and the game ends as an eight-point loss.”
The Heat was led by Jill Festival with eight kills and two aces, while freshman Brianna Beamish continued her strong play at this tournament with seven kills, one block and seven digs.
The Heat, who closed the preseason with a 5-5 record, will open up their Canada West schedule with a two-game home stand when they host the University of Winnipeg Oct. 28 and 29.
Coach Manuel believes his team is ready for its first CIS campaign.
“We are so very close in ability and level of play to the very top teams in Canada. Today was another indication of that as we were able to compete head on with Alberta, without doubt a national title contender again this season. Every time we play one of these upper echelon teams we inch closer to being able to maintain that level for a longer period.”
he Heat men’s volleyball team fell in five sets Sunday afternoon in an exhibition match on the Heat’s home court to a Canada West opponent, the University of Saskatchewan Huskies (21-25, 28-26, 25-16, 22-25, 15-10).
The Heat won the first set and led into the second set but were unable to put the Huskies away, losing a see-saw second set before eventually falling in five. “We played them pretty tight just couldn’t come up with it in the end,” said coach Greg Poitras. “We are playing at a high level, we are just not playing at a high level long enough. They (Saskatchewan) know the level, they’ve played in this league (the CIS) forever.
“Riley (McFarland)had a good game,” added Poitras “we have been playing him on the left for quite a while….today we played him on the right and he did really really well. He produced from the right more than anybody has so far, that was nice to see.”
The numbers bear out Poitras’ observations as McFarland finished the five set match with 19-1-4 (kills-aces-blocks) and 7 digs. Fellow Heat outside hitter Nate Speijer finished the game with a 15-1-4 stat line. First year middle Leigh Goossen is acclimatizing himself quickly to the level of play leading the team with six blocks. Fellow freshman Jeremy Fostvelt led the team with 10 digs.
Setter Preston Tucker played in his second match of the year and although not full strength he led the team with 47 assists. Coach Poitras is pleased to have his setter back from his off season ankle injury but notes he is not at one hundred percent yet.
The Heat’s preseason record is now 3-8, while and the Huskies have finished their preseason schedule with a six-win and three-loss record. The Heat will finish their preseason schedule this Thursday and Friday when they travel to Kamloops to tune up against the Thompson Rivers WolfPack.