The UBC Okanagan Heat did nothing to harm its standing as the No. 1 ranked team in CIS women’s volleyball.
Steve Manuel’s team took down the rival No. 7-ranked UBC Thunderbirds in back-to-back matches at the Kelowna campus, as the Heat ran its winning streak to 12 games.
The Heat (17-1) gave the more than 1,100 hometown fans their money’s worth on Friday night with solid 3-1 win (25-19, 25-18, 23-25, 25-21).
UBC Okanagan’s attack was led by Brianna Beamish with 11 kills, while Megan Festival and Erin Drew had nine kills each. Festival led the way in digs with 12, while Emily Oxland set the table with 29 assists.
On Saturday, Beamish was on form again with 16 kills and 20 digs as the Heat rolled the ‘Birds 3-0 (25-21, 25-23, 25-21).
Katie Wuttunee added nine kills, while Festival added eight kills and 16 digs, and Kailin Jones had 14 digs.
Wuttunee credited the hometown crowd for giving her team a big boost.
“The support we felt from our fans was immense, and playing so united as a team on our home court, really makes the feeling of this success both incredible and exhilarating,” said the Heat’s Katie Wuttenee.
“Our team has been going through a lot of adversity with injuries and sickness, so to see us overcome this with our depth contributing to pulling us through is really great.”
The Heat will see the Trinity Western Spartans next for two big matches Friday and Saturday in Langley.
UBCO and TWU are currently tied for top spot at 17-1.
The UBC Okanagan men put up a fight up but couldn’t find a way to take a match off the visiting UBC Thunderbirds in Canada West action in Kelowna.
On Friday, Alex Swiatlowski’s career high 23 kills wasn’t enough as the Heat succumbed to the T-Birds in four sets (27-25, 22-25, 25-17, 25-22)
On Saturday, UBCO jumped out to a two-set lead only to see the No. 6 ranked T-Birds roar back for a 3-2 win (20-25, 18-25, 25-16, 25-12, 15-13).
Swiatlowski paced the Heat again with 16 kills and 10 digs, while Lars Bornemann had 12 kills, and rookie El Risso chipped in with 15 digs.
“I think we had the right formula to beat that team, but we just didn’t execute quite as well as we’d like to,” said Heat coach Greg Poitras.
The Heat, now 3-15, have lost seven matches in a row.
This weekend, UBCO heads to Langley to take on the Fraser Valley Cascades.