UBC Okanagan volleyball teams kicked off exhibition play in the CIS on the weekend as the men’s and ladies teams traveled to Guelph on Friday, taking on the host University of Guelph team.
The Heat women started strong, winning the first set before losing the next three to the Gryphons.
“We played very well early on and controlled the first set completely,” said head coach Steve Manuel. “We continued playing well in the second set but made way too many unforced errors and let it slip away.”
On Friday, outside hitters Megan Festival (1st year, Calgary, AB) and Myrte Schön (4th year, Langley, BC) led the Heat offense with seven kills on the night apiece. Middle Katy Klomps (2nd year, Surrey, BC) contributed six kills to the Heat offensive effort. Third year libero Kailin Jones (Kelowna, BC) put up 13 digs, while freshman Emily Oxland (North Vancouver, BC) chipped in seven.
On Sunday there were no fewer than three newcomers on the floor at any one time as the Heat played with a lot of energy and passion in their final exhibition game against the Gryphons. The women played a much better match Sunday according to coach Manuel and defeated Guelph in three sets. (25-10, 25-21, 25-19).
“This was an outstanding training and competition weekend for us,” Manuel said. “Both teams used the weekend to experiment a bit with lineups while working on preparing for league play. We saw some things that we need to work on but we also saw some very bright spots in our lineup.”
The Heat will return to their training regime for the next few weeks until they compete in the West Coast Classic on October 19 to 21 in Vancouver. The Heat will begin the regular season the following weekend against Thompson Rivers on Saturday, October 27th, at home in Kelowna.
The UBCO men’s volleyball hosted Argentina’s Under-23 team in a pair of exhibition volleyball contests in Kelowna on the weekend.
On Friday in the first of two exhibitions the Heat came out strong but eventually fell to Fe Voleibol Argentino three sets to one (21-25, 25-21, 25-16, 25-18).
An electric crowd sparked the Heat early, who looked impressive in their second exhibition game so far this season. All Heat players saw significant minutes, while Argentina played the majority of their starters in preparation for the Pan American Cup in Langley, B.C, which runs from September 25th to the 30th. Despite the result, Heat head coach Greg Poitras was happy with his team’s performance.
“We adjusted well to their style of play, which is different from the type of play we’re used to [in the CIS],” remarked Poitras. “I just think we need to execute a little better.”
Considering the hype surrounding the Argentineans, who are not only the favourites to win the Pan Am Cup, but look to do it with a U-21 squad, the Heat made an impressive showing, fighting for every point. Also impressive was the play of many first-year Heat players.
Added Poitras, “We expect our new guys to be ready, and be impact players for our team. That’s why they are here.”
In Saturday’s rematch the Heat struggled early on and Fe Voleibol Argentino recorded a straight set victory (25-21, 26-24, 25-20).
Heat outside hitter Riley McFarland (5th year, Surrey, BC) led the Heat with 11 kills and 3 digs on Saturday, while 5th year Nate Speijer (Outside hitter, Penticton, BC) tallied 9 kills of his own. Libero Jeremy Kler (5th year, Vernon, BC) put up 5 digs for the Heat Saturday night.
The Heat will take to the road to play the Thompson Rivers WolfPack in exhibition play on Wednesday. The game will get underway at 7 p.m. in Kamloops.