Heat finish first in Canada West. Playoffs for women’s volleyball begin on Friday vs. defending national champs
By Cary Mellon on February 10, 2015
(best two of three matches)
@ UBC Okanagan Gymnasium
* if necessary
Women’s Volleyball (Canada West Quarter-finals) – After completing the best ever regular season in any Canada West sport in UBC Okanagan’s history the Heat women’s volleyball team with a record of 19-5 and a first place finish will move on to the Canada West post season for the third straight year, and for the third time in the four years the school has been in the conference.
Although tied for first place the Heat ended up with the third seed in the playoff, due to sets won/loss ratio, and will host the sixth place team Manitoba Bison this Friday through Sunday (Feb. 13-15) at UBC Okanagan in the first-round of the Canada West playoffs.
The first-round of the will begin for the Heat at 6 p.m. PST this Friday, February 13th from the UBC Okanagan Gymnasium in Kelowna, BC. The second game of the series will follow on Saturday from the UBC Okanagan Gym at 5 p.m. PST as well. If a third and deciding game is needed, it will come Sunday at 5 pm PST from the UBC Okanagan gym.
UBC Okanagan, just ranked second in the latest national poll, closed out the season on an amazing streak to earn the first place Canada West tie winning 15 of their last 16 matches, including their final two this past weekend against playoff bound Brandon. (3-2 | 3-0).
Manitoba, the defending national champions, needed to win on the final day of the season to earn a spot in the Canada West playoffs. The Bisons topped MacEwan in Alberta on Sunday in straight sets to advance with a record of 13-11. Three teams in the nations hardest conference, Canada West, finished with a 13-11 record, along with Manitoba so did the defending Canada West champion UBC Thunderbirds, who have also won six of the last seven national championships, and the Brandon Bobcats.
Curiously three team also tied atop the conference at 19-5 along with UBC Okanagan the Trinity Western Spartans and the Alberta Pandas, the latter earning the number one seed with the edge in sets won/loss ratio. Calgary finished fourth with a 14-10 record.
The Heat and Bisons squared off in Kelowna back in October (24-25) with the home team taking both matches. On the Friday night the Heat won in four sets (25-17, 20-25, 25-12, 25-23) and on Saturday in just three (25-17, 25-15, 25-15). The Heat, as they have been doing all season long, won with a balanced offensive attack and a strong middle block.
The Heat were led by different players each night with only Megan Festival and Brianna Beamish averaging over 10 kills a game in the weekend series. Festival put down (24), Beamish (20) while Katiwe Wuttunee (17), Katy Klomps (15), and Kaitlynn Given (12) all were effective. In the 4-set win on the Friday UBC Okanagan out-blocked Manitoba 11-9 on Saturday the Heat finished with a 10-3 advantage on the blocks.
Manitoba was, as usual led by Rachel Cockrell, the 5-10 rightside finished the weekend at UBC Okanagan with 31 kills in the two days. Cockrell was named the CIS national tournament MVP when she guided her Bisons to a national championship in Regina last March.
The winner of the series will move on to the Canada West Final Four hosted by the University of Alberta at the Saville Community Centre next weekend, where the top three finishers of the tournament will earn a berth to the CIS championships. The 2015 CIS Women’s Volleyball Championship will be held February 26th to March 1st at the University of Toronto in Toronto, ON.