October 13, 2013, Kamloops (ISN) – The UBC Okanagan Heat men’s volleyball concluded their preseason with their best showing of the year to date, as they finished the Thompson Rivers tournament with two wins, two losses, and a second-place finish after the Friday-Saturday event.
To open the tournament, the Heat drew the UBC Thunderbirds, and although the Heat fell in four sets (20-25, 25-22, 25-23, 25-23), Heat head coach Greg Poitras thought his team was close and ready to breakout – it was just the that T’birds had brought a little more. Three young players led the offense for UBC Okanagan: sophomore Alex Swiatlowski with 20 points, and rookies Lars Bornemann and Kris McCrea finished with 15 and 11 respectively.
The second match on Friday saw the Heat capture their first road win of the season with the Guelph Gryphons playing the victim. It took just three sets (25-20, 25-15, 27-25) and one hour and 12 minutes to dispatch of the Ontario foes.
The fifth-year veteran Nate Speijer would record a game-high 18 kills and 24 total points, while Kyle Pankratz would add an additional 10 kills in a very strong game for the third-year transfer. As a team, the Heat recorded 7.5 total team blocks to the Gryphon’s one.
On Saturday UBC Okanagan faced off against the host, the Thompson Rivers WolfPack, for the fourth time this preseason, and for the first time in the four attempts the Heat got the best of the ‘Pack with a three set win (27-25, 25-17, 25-18) that pushed the Heat into the gold medal game against the Thunderbirds.
Nate Speijer led the way with 16 points, while Bornemann (10) and Harvey (8) also had solid games for the Heat.
In the final versus inter-university rival UBC, the Heat came out sluggish, and the long weekend of volleyball made itself present on the Heat side of the ball. Offensively, the Heat struggled. Nate Speijer was only able to must six kills versus the T-Birds, while Jim Bell added four in limited action. Five other Heat players (Swiatlowski, Pankratz, Bornemann, McCrea, and Harvey) were only able to muster one kill each. A three-set win for the Thunderbirds (25-14, 25-9, 25-12) earned UBC the gold medal, while UBC Okanagan earned the silver medal in a good overall weekend showing from the Heat.
“Overall we definitely made good strides forward since our last exhibition, said a pleased Poitras after the tournament. “We played two players [second year middle Jim Bell and first year outside hitter Lars Bornemann] who hadn’t played a full match or scrimmage this year because of injury.”
Poitras, along with the two wins, was also able to see measurable improvement in his team’s execution and on offense, but notes improvements are still needed. “We are scoring much better and we are managing our errors better. We have a lot of work to do to be able to compete over two nights.”
The Heat will open the regular season at home on October 25 versus the valley rival WolfPack. And then see the WolfPack for the sixth and final time (barring a playoff matchup) of the season on Sunday in Kamloops. First serve is 7 p.m. Friday in Kelowna and 6 p.m. Saturday at the Tournament Capital Centre.
HEAT NOTES: Leo Schober (3rd year, Kelowna) and Chris Wilson (1st year, Surrey, BC), two of the Heat’s four middles are currently injured, requiring Jim Bell and Joshua Harvey to play in all four matches in 32 hours.
Men’s Volleyball (Canada West exhibition play) SCHEDULE & RESULTS: http://www.ubc.ca/okanagan/athletics/mensvolleyball/results.html
Thompson Rivers Tournament (Oct 10-12)
Thompson Rivers Tournament Results – Thursday (Games at the Tournament Capital Centre)
Guelph 3 Thompson Rivers 2 (25-20, 25-23, 14-25, 17-25, 19-17)
Thompson Rivers Tournament Results – Friday (Games at the Tournament Capital Centre)
UBC 3 UBC Okanagan 1 (20-25, 25-22, 25-23, 25-23)
UBC Okanagan 3 Guelph 0 (25-20, 25-15, 27-25) Box Score: http://goheat.ca/Vball13-14/mv101113.htm
UBC 3 Thompson Rivers 2 (25-23, 23-25, 27-25, 22-25, 15-11)
Thompson Rivers Tournament Results – Saturday (Games at the Tournament Capital Centre)
UBC 3 Guelph 0
UBC Okanagan 3 Thompson Rivers 0 (27-25, 25-17, 25-18)
Bronze: Thompson Rivers 3 Guelph 0 (25-18, 25-19, 25-15)
Gold: UBC 3 UBC Okanagan 0 (25-14, 25-9, 25-12) Box Score: http://goheat.ca/Vball13-14/mv101213.htm