KELOWNA, B.C. – The women’s volleyball team is on the road again as they head over the Rockies to square off against the University of Calgary Dinos.
The 2-6 Heat will be playing their fifth Canada West doubleheader in six weeks, and for the fifth consecutive time they will be facing one of the top 10 teams in the nation in the No. 10 Dinos, even though Calgary sports a sub-.500 record of 4-6. The first game of the doubleheader will be Friday Dec. 2 at 5 p.m. PST., and then they play again on Saturday at 5 p.m. PST. Both matches will be played in the Jack Simpson Gymnasium on the University of Calgary campus.
Friday, December 2 –UBC Okanagan Heat at No. 10 University of Calgary Dinos (5 p.m. PST, Jack Simpson Gymnasium, Calgary, AB)
Saturday, December 3 –UBC Okanagan Heat at No. 10 University of Calgary Dinos (5 p.m. PST, Jack Simpson Gymnasium, Calgary, AB)
Both games will be streamed with live video: www.canadawest.tv
CIS National Ranking: N/A
CanWest Standings: 9th
Last Week: 0-2; Fri 3-0 loss to TWU, Sat 3-0 loss to TWU
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
There is little question that Canada West is the strongest conference in women’s volleyball in the CIS. At this point in the season six of the top 10 teams are from Canada West, and the national champion has come from Canada West 26 of the last 30 years. This realization is something that the UBC Okanagan women’s volleyball team can wear as a badge of courage after going through the incredibly difficult first semester schedule that they have faced.
UBC Okanagan bench boss Steve Manuel has been able to accept the extreme level of difficulty to the start of his Heat’s Canada West journey, but hopes that the tough battles turn his CIS rookies into a veteran team in a short span of time:
“It’s a tough road to start so far. Really tough start as far as opponents go,” notes Manuel. “But we can look back on it and say we played tough competition, which is what we wanted, so that’s fine.”
One of Manuel’s CIS rookies, Heat veteran fourth year Alex Basso (Outside hitter, Kelowna, BC) is hopefully doing just as Steve hopes and quickly turning herself and her teammates into experienced Canada West players: “I think we’ve been learning a lot as the season goes on, and I think we have a lot to prove still. We’re going to go out and show what we can do,” explains Basso.
Both Steve and Alex are trying not to look at the team’s record or the big picture and are focusing on this weekend’s task at hand, namely the Dinos.
“We haven’t seen Calgary at all yet this year yet. It will be really interesting to go over there and see what they have to offer,” adds Basso.
Steve doesn’t need to see them in person and gives a simple scout of Calgary. “They’re a good team, another top 10 Canada West team. It will be a battle.”
Calgary sits at 4-6 and if the Heat can win both games this weekend they would have as many wins and two fewer losses than the Dinos heading into the break. Calgary’s record is very comparable to that of UBC Okanagan, they split with Manitoba in Calgary; the Heat split with Manitoba on the road in Winnipeg. The Dinos lost both games to Winnipeg in Winnipeg, whereas the Heat split with Winnipeg at home. Both Calgary and UBC Okanagan were swept by No. 1 UBC, Calgary on the road and the Heat in Kelowna.
The teams’ schedules differ in that the Heat dropped both to No. 9 Trinity in Langley, while the Dinos hosted the unranked Brandon Bobcats and won both. The Heat had their bye weekend already while Calgary split with TRU.
Statistically the teams appear to be evenly matched, with Calgary holding the slight edge offensively. As a team the Dinos hitting percentage is .200 – 11th in the nation, the Heat is .125 – 25th. Calgary is averaging 12.45 kills per set (5th), and 11.68 assist per set (5th), while UBC Okanagan has 9.87 (27th) and 9.10 (26th) respectively.
In Canada West UBC Okanagan only has one player in the top 25 in player points – Myrte Schön has a 3.20 Avg / G (17th). Calgary has no single player ahead of Schön, but have three players in positions 19, 21, 24; Sarah Monks (4th year, left side, Standard, AB), Lindsey Doland (4th year left side, Calgary, AB), and Melanie Miazga (5th year, middle, Saskatoon, Sask.) average 3.05, 3.00, and 2.90 respectively.
This trio of Dinos in Monks, Doland, and Miazga are the exact Canada West veterans and consistent performers Manuel hopes his squad will become February.
After this weekend’s pair of games the Heat will begin their semester break. The team has a tournament scheduled for early January but the details are still unavailable. The squad will pick up their Canada West matches on the road in Brandon when they take on the Brandon University Bobcats Friday and Saturday January 13-14, games will start at 4 p.m. PST.
UNIVERSITY OF CALGARY DINOS (4-6)
CIS National Ranking: No. 10
CanWest Standings: 6th
Last Week: 0-2; Fri 3-0 loss to UBC, Sat 3-1 loss to UBC
Streak: 2 losses
2011 CanWest Record: 10-8 (6th)
2011 CanWest Championship: 0-2
2011 CIS Tournament: N/A
Last CanWest Title: 2005
Last CIS Title: 2004