by Cary Mellon
February 9, 2014, KELOWNA, BC (ISN) – Four kills by Nate Speijer (5th year, Penticton, BC) in the first sixteen Heat points would give him the Canada West kill lead, but the UBC Okanagan men’s volleyball team were unable to solve the Cougars Saturday night, as Regina earned the 3-1 (25-16, 28-26, 20-25, 25-21) victory.
Finishing the game with 18 kills, Speijer would eclipse TRU’s Brad Gunter for most kills in Canada West this season with 371. Where does this rank all-time you ask? Speijer’s 371 is good for fourth-best all-time in the history of the conference – three kills better than Paul Sanderson’s 368 during the 2009-2010 season at Brandon.
Behind Speijer, the Heat struggled to find their rhythm offensively for the majority of the match – a problem that was further exacerbated by a Cougar block that was forceful down the stretch for Regina. As a team, the Heat were only able to hit a combined .129 over the course of the four sets, while Regina out-blocked UBC Okanagan by a margin of 3.5 (15-11.5).
In his second start of the weekend, Davis Proch (5th year, Kelowna, BC) would finish his career with an additional 32 assists, as he helped quarterback the Heat offense in replacement of the injured Kristof Schlagintweit (2nd year, Abbotsford, BC).
Saturday evening’s result sees both teams finish the 2013-2014 season with identical records of 4-18.
Prior to the game, both Speijer and Proch were honoured in a ceremony for their contributions to the Heat program. Post-game, both graduates were met by friends and family in attendance, amongst plenty of photos and hugs. LINK TO FEATURE ON SENIORS
“Bittersweet” and “surreal” were how Proch and Speijer described the final games of their careers, as both made their final exit from the gymnasium.
“I can still remember stepping on this court for the first time and lacing up the shoes,” said Speijer.
“To be able to come back to Kelowna and play for my home-town team, it was special,” finished Proch.
Thus ends the 2013-2014 seasons for both Regina and UBC Okanagan. The Heat will bid farwell to Davis Proch and Nate Speijer, while Regina will graduate Ryan Cherwaty, Nathan Cherwaty, Caleb Eschbach, Marco Vargas, and Joel Legasse.