(Photo: UBC Okanagan Heat athletics)

UBC Okanagan in for tough volleyball home-opener challenge

The Heat host the University of Alberta Friday and Saturday

The UBC Okanagan Heat will face one of the powerhouses of university volleyball at their home-opener this weekend.

UBCO hosts the University of Alberta in a double-header for both the men and women squads as the Canada West volleyball season continues starting Friday night at the UBCO campus.

The Heat women will face the Pandas, who won the national bronze medal last season have been tagged the No. 2 ranked team in the division after their impressive pre-season.

Heat stars Jade Bussard, Natalie Livingston, Amanda Perry and Hellen Lacava led the Heat to their first win of the season in Regina last weekend. They went 2-2 during the pre-season and hope the home-opener excitement will add to their play strength against the tough Pandas team.

READ MORE: Rockets’ Hamaliuk signs entry-level deal in NHL

READ MORE: Heat players included in Canada West all-star team nods

After an injury-plagued season last year, the Heat men finished at the bottom of the league with one win.

This year, Heat stars Max Heppell and Caleb Funk look to lead UBCO to an improved year. The Heat won two pre-season matches earlier this year and get thrown into the fire to start the season with the matchup against the Golden Bears, a projected top team this year.

The Heat men have yet to win a match against the Alberta Golden Bears in 16 games

Volleyball action starts Friday night as the Heat women start at 6 p.m. and then Saturday night at 4 p.m. The Heat men play Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 6 p.m.

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