KELOWNA, B.C. – The Heat have lost three games in a row and have just come off of their scheduled bye weekend, yet they still hold on to the ninth spot in the national rankings. This weekend the Heat will have their hands full as they head to Langley to face off against the defending national champion and current No. 1 ranked Trinity Western Spartans. Friday night the teams will square off at 8 p.m. in the Langley Events Centre, Saturday they will start an hour earlier as they take to the court at 7 p.m. in the Langley Events Centre.
Friday, November 25 – UBC Okanagan Heat at No. 1 Trinity Western University Spartans (8 p.m. PST in the Langley Events Centre, Langley)
Saturday, November 26 – UBC Okanagan Heat at No. 1 Trinity Western University Spartans (7 p.m. PST in the Langley Events Centre, Langley)
Both games will be streamed with live video: www.canadawest.tv
CIS National Ranking: 9th
CanWest Standings: 6th
Last Week: Bye
Streak: 3 losses
2010 CanWest Record: N/A
2010 CanWest Championship: N/A
2010 CIS Tournament: N/A
Last CanWest Title: N/A
Last CIS Title: N/A
The Trinity Western Spartans are not only defending champions and the number one ranked team in the nation, UBC Okanagan has the not so good fortune to face the team on their home court. The Spartans swept through the CIS Championship in their title run on their home court in winning the 2011 National title.
The Spartans lead the nation in points per set with 18.3; they also lead the nation in kills per set at 14.04, are second as a team in assists per set and third in hitting percentage. The team has only made 99 errors in six matches, seventh in the nation.
“There’s a reason they are undefeated, there’s a reason why they’re the number one team: they don’t have a lot of gaps, they don’t have a lot of weaknesses,” quips UBC Okanagan coach Greg Poitras.
Greg will utilize his team’s own powerful attack to take on the Spartans as both of the Heat’s fourth year outside hitters are enjoying strong seasons. Nate Speijer (Penticton, BC) and Riley McFarland (Surrey, BC) have 4.43 and 3.48 kills per set respectively; Nate is second in the nation and Riley is seventeenth.
“We need to serve tough off the baseline and put them into trouble,” adds Greg Poitras. “They’ll never let us have any points, we’re going to have to earn all our points.”
UBC Okanagan managed to defeat the Spartans this season in preseason but realize those results mean little now that the season has started.
“They’re going to be a completely different team this time around, just because it will be a more important game,” says middle blocker Brett Uniat (4th year, Cochrane, AB). “I think we know that if we play well enough we can play with them.”
Poitras echoes Uniat, adding: “We can look at where we had success and where we didn’t have success, and that can help us to compete with them.”
After this weekend the Heat will still be in tough as they will head to Calgary to play No. 6 U of C in their last two league games before the winter semester break.
TRINITY WESTERN SPARTANS (6-0)
CIS National Ranking: No. 1
CanWest Standings: 1st tied
Last Week: 2-0; Fri 3-0 over UR, Sat 3-1 over UR
Streak: 6 wins
2011 CanWest Record: 13-5, 3rd place
2011 CanWest Championship: 3-1 (3rd)
2011 CIS Tournament: 3-0 (gold)
Last CanWest Title: 2007
Last CIS Title: 2011