The UBC Okanagan Women’s team played in front of a raucous crowd Friday night in their first match of the 2011 BCCAA Championships held at home, coming away with a 3-0 sweep (25-20, 25-17, 25-16) against UFV in the semi-finals to advance. Jenna Evans was named UFV’s Player of the Match, finishing with a team-high 8 kills. Alex Basso was named the Heat’s Player of the Game, finishing with a game-high 15 kills, 8 digs and game-high 3 blocks (tied with Heat setter Caitlin Nyhus).
Before the match, several members of the team received awards for their success in the BCCAA regular season: Reigning CCAA Player of the Year Alex Basso and 5th year Setter Caitlin Nyhus were both awarded 1st Team All-Star honours, while 2nd year Outside hitter Myrte Schön was named 2nd Team All-Star. Both Basso and Schön were two of the most dangerous hitters in the league this season, with Basso leading the league in Kills per set (3.65) and Schön ranked 4th with a 3.49 average. Rookies Emily Caroll and Chandler Proch each were named to the All-Rookie Team after phenomenal seasons where each fought for hard for playing time. Graduating setter Caitlin Nyhus, who has started for the Heat the last five years, received BCCAA Player of the Year honours for her orchestrating the Heat’s potent offense. To continue the orchestra Heat Coach Steve Manuel was named the BCCAA Coach of the Year.
The match was a hard-fought battle with neither team able to gain any real momentum. The first set was a tight, point-for-point battle, eventually going to 15-15 before the Heat finally found a flow to their offense that put them up 22-20. Basso then started getting hot, helping the Heat ice the win 25-20. The second set was much of the same, with neither team able to dominate, leading to long, hard fought rallies. The UFV defense was quite effective against UBCO, with UFV’s Libero Brittany Stewart leading her team and the match with 12 digs. After the Heat managed to pull away to a 25-17 win in the 2nd set, they managed to establish a flow that allowed them to run away to the 25-16 3rd set win and the match sweep.
The UFV Cascades will now play in the Bronze Medal match against the Capilano Blues, who lost to the Vancouver Island Mariners in the first semi-final match earlier in the day. The Heat will now play the Mariners in the Gold Medal Match Saturday. The Mariners and Heat have had a back-and-forth rivalry for much of the season, ending the season with 13-1 records.