With the best regular season in their brief CIS history in the books, the UBC Okanagan Heat women are looking add a new chapter of playoff success this weekend.
The Heat is playing host to Canada West Final 4, with the top three teams to qualify for the national women’s volleyball championship this month in Brandon.
Steve Manuel’s team opens the championship tonight at 6 p.m. against the UBC Thunderbirds, while the second semifinal features Trinity Western and Alberta at 8 p.m.
The Heat, which is hosting the tournament for the first time, has its sights set on a first-ever trip to the CIS finals.
Since Canada West went to a Final 4 format—some 15 years ago—only four teams have ever hosted: UBC, Alberta, Calgary and Manitoba all multiple CIS/CIAU championship winners.
“Earning the privilege of hosting Final Four is huge, I believe an incredible achievement,” said Manuel, the Heat’s head coach.
As for facing their campus cousins, UBC, in the opener, Manuel said it’s important for his Heat to simply stick to the game plan.
“For Friday’s match we are simply preparing as we normally would, obviously this is a big match with a lot on the line against a very good team,” said Manuel, whose team went 2-0 against the Thunderbirds this season. “We have done the necessary work to this point, now all that’s left to do is to go out there and perform.”
The winners to tonight’s semifinal will meet for Canada West gold tomorrow at 7 p.m.
Three members of the UBCO women’s team have earned Canada West all-star recognition for 2015-16.
Middle blocker Katie Wuttunee was named to the first all-star team, while middle Katy Klomps and outside hitter Breanna Beamish made the second team.
For the Heat men, two players were named to the Canada West all-rookie team—Devon Cote and Eli Risso.