Heat at Last, Hello Pandas

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ubc heat

Cary Mellon

KELOWNA, B.C. – The Heat are in action this weekend versus another ranked foe.

The University of Alberta Pandas are ranked third in the country with an 8-4 record; the Pandas have split their last four weekends of league play. UBC Okanagan hopes to notch at least one win versus the ranked opponent. Action begins at 6 p.m. both Friday and Saturday nights (Jan. 20-21); watch in person at UBC’s Okanagan campus gym.

GAME TIMES

Friday, January 20 – The University of Alberta Pandas at the UBC Okanagan Heat (6 p.m. PST, UBC’s Okanagan campus, Kelowna, BC)

Saturday, January 21 – The University of Alberta Pandas at the UBC Okanagan Heat (6 p.m. PST, UBC’s Okanagan campus, Kelowna, BC)

Both games will be streamed with live video: www.canadawest.tv

HEAT (2-10)

CIS National Ranking: N/A

CanWest Standings: 9th

Last Week: 0-2; Fri 3-0 loss to BU, Sat 3-2 loss to BU

Streak: 7 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

Full Schedule / Roster

Last Weekend: The Heat dropped both games on the road versus Brandon. Friday night the Heat went down in straight sets to the Bobcats (25-18, 25-18, 25-23), while on Saturday the Heat took Brandon to a fifth set falling just short, 3-2 (25-17, 25-23, 21-25, 18-25, 17-15). It was a valiant effort for the Heat as they made the long trip to Brandon without starting setter Chandler Proch. She is currently sidelined with a back injury.

Home court advantage: UBC Okanagan have notched one win at home (Oct. 28 over Winnipeg) and one on the road (Nov. 11 over Manitoba). At home they are 1-3, and 1-7 on the road.

Missing Chandler: The Heat have lost second year setter Chandler Proch for an undetermined length of time with a back injury. With the loss of Proch’s natural backup in the preseason, coach Steve Manuel has inserted third year Kendra Wayling in that role.

“Last week when Chandler’s back wasn’t doing so good and there was a potential she was going to be out, I met with Kendra and asked her if she was OK with that. She said ‘Yes coach, I’m up to the challenge.’ I wonder if the kid has ice in her veins sometimes. She kind of just steps in and does whatever she has to do.”

Transition to Kendra as a setter: “I think it’s about as good as it can be. It’s a situation that we prepared for,” explains coach Steve Manuel. “Kendra’s got a really nice touch on the ball; she sets a good ball. It’s just a matter of working out some game plan stuff and different situations. The more she plays, the more things fall into place.”

Kendra the key to the near comeback versus Brandon: “By Saturday I think we found the lineup that was working well for us,” says Manuel. The Heat were down 2-0 and came all the way back before finally succumbing in the 5th set 17-15. “She was doing a good job of delivering the ball and getting more comfortable with it. I think that the team is playing really well around her because of it.”

A good distraction: Manuel explains that the loss of their starting setter may be helping the team find their stride. “It’s almost like a distraction in a positive way. You kind of forget about the situation that you’re in because you’re saying ‘OK, I need to do this because we’ve got a new person in that position [and] I need to do my job to get her the ball so that she can do her job, rather than getting caught up with “oh my gosh, it’s 20 all in the second set.”

Kendra’s Stats: Statistically, Kendra improved in her games this past weekend as setter from Friday to Saturday. On Friday Kendra had 24 assists and 8 digs in their 3 set loss, while on Saturday Kendra tallied 46 assists and 19 digs, a team high.

On the attack: Myrte Schön and Alex Basso are leading the team’s offense and have had nearly identical seasons. Schön has 119 kills (2.64 k/s), 401 total attacks and a .085 hitting percentage. Basso’s numbers are: 117 (2.49), 437, .105.

Rookie impact: Middle Katy Klomps and outside hitter Briana Beamish are playing well in their freshman season. Klomps is fifth in Canada West in blocks with 52 total blocks. Her 12 solo blocks make up the third highest total in Canada West. Brianna Beamish is the most efficient hitter on the floor for the Heat this season as she has downed 23.4% of her total chances.

This weekend’s opponent:

ALBERTA PANDAS (8-4)

CIS National Ranking: 3rd tied

CanWest Standings: 3rd

Previous Week: 1-1; Fri 3-0 loss to TWU, Sat 3-2 win over TWU

Streak: 1 win

2011 CanWest Record: 11-7 (3rd)

2011 CanWest Championship: 2-3

Last CanWest Title: 2008

Last CIS Title: 2007

Full Schedule / Roster

Their record: The Pandas have played to a split in their last four weekends, winning one and losing one to Trinity, UBC, Manitoba and Winnipeg. The Pandas started the season 4-0 after sweeps of TRU and Saskatchewan.

Home or away it doesn’t matter: The Pandas have an identical 4-2 record at home and on the road.

Friday or Saturday: The Pandas are most susceptible to an upset on Friday with a 3-3 record on the first game of the matchup. Saturday the Pandas are almost unbeatable, losing only to No. 1 UBC on the first day of the weekend and are 5-1 on that day.

Matchup: The Heat faced the Pandas in the preseason and fell (25-19, 25-15, 25-20). “We played them in preseason, and we played them with a pretty similar lineup to what they’re still playing,” says Manuel. “We played them at the UBC tournament [score above], and we scrimmaged with them (informal scrimmage). So we got a chance to see them; we’re fairly familiar with them.”

This weekend’s opponent from Heat’s perspective: “They’re a big, physical team, so we will need to control the ball well on our side of the net so that we are able to keep them off balance. Obviously we will need to serve them really tough. We’ll have to control the ball well so that we can run a good offense because if we give them easy balls they’ll be coming back fast and furious. Not too terribly different from any other teams in Canada West – well coached team, very experienced,” says Manuel.

Kill leader: Fourth year left side Krista Zubick leads the team with 111 kills and 2.85 kills per set; her hitting percentage is 15.5%.

Really big: “They have a 6’4” import in her first year who will be a handful,” says Steve Manuel. Outside hitter Alena Omelchenko is having quite an impact; she is second on the team in kills per set at 2.77, but has the team’s most kills with 130, putting down 19.5% of her attempts. Alena has been a member of the National Team for Kazakhstan since 2009.

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