The frigid temperatures of the Prairies weren’t enough to put a chill into the UBC Okanagan Heat.
Both the UBCO men’s and women’s volleyball squad opened their 2013 Canada West schedules with sweeps of the hometown University of Regina Cougars.
For Greg Poitras’ men’s team, now 2-12, it was their first two victories of the season.
Riley McFarland was a one-man wrecking crew for UBCO with 26 kills on Saturday in a four-set win over the Cougars, 23-25,25-10,28-26,25-23.
Freshman Kristof Schlagintweit had 36 assists and seven digs for the Heat, while fifth year middle Brett Uniat had six kills and tied for the match lead with eight blocks.
On Sunday, McFarland outdid himself with 30 kills, a career best and the most in Canada West by any player since Thompson Rivers’ Kevin Tillie tallied 36 back on Nov. 13, 2010, as the Heat prevailed in five sets (25-20,25-20,23-25,21-25,15-11)
Greg Niemantsverdriet had 12 kills and 12 digs, while second year setter Jon Russo had a match-high 17 digs for the Heat who are breathing easier after finally hitting the win column.
“The team is feeling very relieved that things are coming together after a rocky exhibition performance,” said Heat head coach Greg Poitras. “We’ve struggled on the road, so this was a minor milestone for us. We felt a lot of adversity at times and handled that really well.”
The Heat will return home to host the Calgary Dinos this weekend.
Steve Manuel’s UBCO women’s team continued its push for a Canada West playoff spot with a sweep of the Cougars.
The No. 9-ranked Heat, now 9-5, took Regina down in four sets on both Saturday and Sunday.
In the first match, outside hitter Myrte Schön had a team-high 14 kills for UBC Okanagan and added 10 digs for a double-double, as the Heat won 25-16,25-18,15-25,25-14.
Outside hitter Alexandra Basso chipped in with nine digs, seven kills, and a match-high six blocks, while Rookie setter Emily Oxland dished out 30 assists and added three service aces.
In the second match, Basso had a team-leading 15 kills for UBC Okanagan, while Oxland had 30 assists and also tied middle Kendra Wayling for the team high with nine digs.
The Heat will host the Calgary Dinos (7-7) this weekend at The Furnace.