As the UBCO Heat women’s volleyball team prepares for their second round playoff series this weekend the Canada West conference has released their regular season conference awards, and UBC Okanagan have once again placed a pair of players on the all-star teams.
Aidan Lea, the third year middle, has found herself on the first team, and fifth year outside hitter Michelle Jakszuk was rewarded for the strongest season of her career with a spot on the second team.
This marks the fifth straight year the Heat have won at least one round in the Canada West postseason and the sixth straight year the UBCO women’s volleyball team has placed at least one player on a Canada West All-Star team.
Although coach Manuel is extremely happy with his team’s success in placing student athletes on the all-star teams, he also laments that many players who have had very strong performances aren’t also recognized.
“It must be a difficult task for the coaches around the Canada West Conference to decide who to vote when considering our players,” commented Manuel. “We have such a well-rounded group that I believe any of our starting lineup could have been recognized. Siobhan Fitzpatrick had another great season, Erin Drew is a top middle blocker, Ann Richards was our top point producer in several key matches and Sara McCreary leads Canada West in assists, which is the only statistic for setters.”
It looks like a bright future for the Heat men’s volleyball program as for the third straight year they place at least one player on the Canada West All-Rookie team. Also for the first time since 2011-12 the UBC Okanagan program has earned a conference all-star.
Caleb Funk, a 6-foot-7 middle from Strathmore, AB, found himself as one of the top first year players over the course of the 24-match regular season. The Heat’s captain and all-time kill leader, Lars Bornemann, closes out his career in style earning a conference all-star.
Completing his second year at the helm of the UBCO men’s volleyball program, first without the interim tag, Brad Hudson found it easy to praise his award winners.
“Really I am exceptionally proud of both Lars and Caleb. I’m also very proud of everyone’s efforts through the season that helped propel these two exceptional young men to very fine seasons. We were one of only five Canada West Men’s Volleyball programs to have multiple representatives and I believe that speaks to our individual and collective growth,” said Hudson.
The men’s team never played more then a handful of sets with the preseason starting lineup, due to injury, but still was in the playoff hunt right down to the final two matches. The Heat program will look to next season to be healthy and make a strong run to a playoff spot.