Kelowna’s Aidan Lea will spend the better part of this summer honing her craft with Canada’s national women’s volleyball program.
The 6-foot-6 middle for the UBC Okanagan Heat was one of 24 athletes chosen for Team Canada following the final selection camp this month at the Richmond Oval.
Lea, a graduate of KSS, is coming off an outstanding first season of Canada West volleyball, after transferring from the University of Colorado in 2016.
It’s the second straight year the Heat have placed a member of their squad on the national team and the first time that the student athlete will return from the national team to compete again for UBCO.
Brianna Beamish made the national team last summer (2016) after completing her fifth and final season of competition for UBC Okanagan.
Lea will join Beamish, who made Team Canada once again after a very successful year playing volleyball in Austria for a VC Tirol, Innsbruck.
The ex-Owl and a product of the Junior Heat club program, Lea is the third athlete to hit the elite status at UBC Okanagan to suit up for their country on the highest level, in their sport. Along with Beamish, Lea will join fellow Kelowna Secondary product, Marisa Field, on the national team. Field played volleyball at the Kelowna campus for the Lakers in 2004-05 and 2005-06. All three have been coached extensively by five-time national coach (2x in CIS / USPORTS and 3x in CCAA) of the year and UBC Okanagan Heat head coach Steve Manuel.
Lea had a memorable first season with UBC Okanagan, helping lead the Heat back to the Canada West Final Four for the fourth straight time, more than capably filling the gap left by Beamish and two Canada West all-star middles in Katy Klomps and Katie Wuttunee.
Lea led Canada West in hitting percentage (.350), the highest number in Heat history, and the 15th best percentage in Canada West history.
Her efforts in the Canada West quarterfinals against Calgary led to the Heat’s comeback on the road against the Dinos, with key back-to-back performances. In Game 2, she had a career high 19 kills force a game three, then finished with 16 kills on .393 hitting as the Heat won the series 2-1 to advance to the final four.
Playing in every match this season she finished the year with 183 kills and 74 total blocks, also named a Finalist as the Outstanding Athlete of the Year at UBC Okanagan.