News Feed (, Volleyball (M) | February 9, 2012

Heat finish up their season needing a sweep of the WolfPack

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KELOWNA, B.C. – The men’s team control their own destiny; with the split last weekend on the road at Saskatchewan and Winnipeg dropping both games to Manitoba, the Heat will now receive a berth to the post season with a sweep of the 3-15 TRU WolfPack. If the Heat can complete the sweep they would be 8-12, one game better than the 7-13 Wesmen. The first of these exciting must win games will be Friday night at 8 p.m. and will be played in the gym on UBC’s Okanagan campus. The second game will be seniors’ night and will go Saturday at 8 p.m. The seniors on the men’s team include setter Preston Tucker (Vernon, BC), middle Mark Broome (Kelowna, BC) and libero Spencer Brown (West Kelowna, BC).


Friday, February 10 – The UBC Okanagan Heat host the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack (8 p.m. PST, UBC’s Okanagan campus Gymnasium, Kelowna, BC)

Saturday, February 11 – The UBC Okanagan Heat host the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack (8 p.m. PST, UBC’s Okanagan campus Gymnasium, Kelowna, BC)

Both games will be streamed with live video:


HEAT (6-12)
CIS National Ranking: N/A
CanWest Standings: 8th
Last Week: 1-1; Fri 3-0 win over SASK, Sat 3-2 win over SASK
Streak: 1 win
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

Last Weekend: On their last road trip of the year the Heat traveled to the University of Saskatchewan knowing that they needed 3 wins in their last 4 matches to give themselves any chance at a playoff berth. Friday night the Heat were still unable to win a match on the road, falling to the Huskies in three sets (25-16, 25-13, 25-23). Now facing a must win on the road, having not won away from UBC’s Okanagan campus this season, the Heat dodged five match / playoff elimination points in the fifth and deciding set in their Saturday matchup with the Huskies. The Heat, down 14-11 in the fifth set, had only a 6.3% chance* of winning the match. Incredibly the Heat went on to win the game (23-25, 25-20, 28-26, 18-25, 18-16), keeping their playoff hopes alive and eliminating the Huskies in one fell swoop.

Coach Greg Poitras’ thoughts on last weekend and the team’s motivation: “The motivation has just been to beat good teams and stay in it with teams that push you to the limit. That’s what happened [against Saskatchewan],” said Poitras. “We dug deep, talked about how we need to play better as a team, and come [Saturday’s match] we just didn’t quit. Even down 14-11 we said ‘well, we’re not going to quit until the last spike hits the floor.’”

“I think motivation is pretty easy: to make playoffs,” said captain Preston Tucker (5th year, setter, Vernon, BC). “Last weekend we lost Friday night, so Saturday night was a do-or-die situation.  That alone kept guys going.  We were down 14-11, pretty easy to give up at that point, but kudos to the team for not letting the ball hit the floor and make some good plays.”

On the emotions of evading the jaws of defeat last weekend and sticking in the race:
“It was a roller-coaster,” explained fifth year Mark Broome (Middle, Kelowna, BC). “It was our first road win of the year, it was one of our last games we’ll play in, it was a win to try and make playoffs … it was probably one of the most exciting games I’ve played in for this school.”

“Big emotional rollercoaster,” said Preston Tucker, echoing Broome’s sentiments. “We’re an emotional team, and when we’re up we play well; when we’re down we try not to stay down too long. It was one of those games where we had ups and downs, but we found a way to win.”

Playoff scenarios explained: Winnipeg has finished their Canada West schedule after falling to Manitoba twice last weekend and have finished with a 7-13 record and a 30 sets won to a 45 sets lost ratio (.6667). The Heat with their split last weekend are 6-12 with a 21 / 44 (.4773) ratio. If the Heat can win both games this weekend when the host the WolfPack they will leapfrog the Wesmen in the standings with an 8-12 record and qualify for the first round of Canada West playoffs with the seventh and final seed. Likely the Heat would head to Manitoba for a best of three, Feb. 16-19.

The tiebreaker for teams with the same won/loss record in Canada West is the ratio of sets won to sets lost. Winnipeg’s is set at .6667. If the Heat lose one of the two games with the WolfPack this weekend they would end up with an identical 7-13 record as the Wesmen. In this scenario the best ratio the Heat could achieve would be after losing once in 5 and winning in 3, which would put the Heat’s won / lost ratio 26 / 47 (.5532) - well below the Wesmen and giving Winnipeg the final spot in the postseason.

On what it would mean to make the playoffs in their final year of their career as a Heat athlete:

“That was the goal at the beginning – to make playoffs. It would be huge. You never like to end a season early, and I think if we win this weekend, that’s all we can ask for,” says Tucker.

“It’s nice playing four years in college and thinking you can compete with CIS guys,” adds Broome, “and now we’re competing with them, and hopefully make the playoffs. And if we do, great, and if not, it’s still a great way to end a career, in CIS volleyball.”

Heat at home: The Heat have amassed five of their six wins at home this season and sit at 5-3 in Kelowna. The Heat will hope their home court advantage continues with the upcoming ‘must win’ matches this weekend.

Message to the fans to come out and support: “Come and help us make history,” urges Poitras. “I don’t think any team from a volleyball standpoint has made playoffs in their first year. We’re going to need 1400 people in ‘The Furnace’ here to help us beat the WolfPack.”

“Last chance to see us play here,” says Tucker. “If you want to see Mark and I and Spencer Brown, come down and check it out.”

“It’s going to be a lot of emotion in the gym,” interjects Broome. “I think if you come out, you’re going to have a good time.”

Heat offensive leader: Outside hitter Nate Speijer (4th yea, Penticton, BC) is second in points at 4.63 per game, second in kills 4.05 per game, 18th in hitting percentage .249 and 23rd in digs with 1.81 per game.

Seniors’ night: The men’s volleyball team will honor three fifth year players in their last game at home this Saturday night: Preston Tucker (Setter, Vernon, BC), Mark Broome (Middle, Kelowna, BC), and Spencer Browne (Libero, West Kelowna, BC).

Preston Tucker:  Preston played five years for the Heat coming straight to the school after his high school career at Vernon’s W.L Seaton Secondary. In his five years Tucker will graduate as one of the most successful and decorated male student-athletes in school’s history. Tucker’s individual awards include:

  • CCAA National Player of the Year Across All Sports (2010/11)
  • CCAA National Player of the Year (2010/11)
  • CCAA National All‐Canadian (2010/11), (2009/10)
  • CCAA National Championship Tournament All‐star (2010/11), (2009/10)
  • BCCAA Player of the Year (2010/11)
  • BCCAA Provincial Championship Tournament All‐star (2010/11), (2009/10)
  • BCCAA Provincial All‐Star (2010/11), (2009/10), (2008/09)
  • BCCAA Athlete of the Week (2010/11), (2009/10)
  • UBC Okanagan Student‐Athlete of the Year(2010/11)

His teams have won also at a very successful rate. In his four year career in the BCCAA, his teams have won 85 matches compared to just 47 losses - an even more impressive 51-13 in strictly league play. Sets won lost overall: 286-189, league: 174-68.

Including this year with his Canada West results, Preston has 95 wins - 68 losses overall. Sets won lost including 5th year overall: 328-235.

His team won: 2 provincial gold medals, 1 provincial bronze medal. 2 national silver medals and 1 national bronze medal.

Preston was also voted the team’s most valuable player twice by his coaches in 2009/10, and 2008/09. In 2007/08 he was selected the men’s volleyball team rookie of the year by his coaches.

Mark Broome: Has played all five years as a teammate with Preston Tucker and therefore has had the same successful winning rate as his setter. Mark was recruited by coach Poitras out of Kelowna school Okanagan Mission Secondary. This Kelowna native was a National tournament all-star in the Heat’s run to a Silver medal last spring, and has twice been honored as a provincial athlete of the week. Mark may best be known for his exuberant celebrations on the court as his excitement and ‘little dances’ have been a crowd favourite for five years at UBC Okanagan.

Spencer Browne: Spencer has been at the University for four years, playing his first year at Selkirk College. Spencer is a unique two sport athlete, and a very successful one. The past two seasons Spencer has been selected to the men’s soccer Provincial All Star team as a keeper.  Spencer’s first year with the Heat was in 2008-09, playing for that 12-4 squad. Spencer is a local product having graduated from Mt. Boucherie Secondary in West Kelowna.

This weekend’s opponent:

CIS National Ranking: N/A
CanWest Standings:  11th
Previous Week: bye
Streak: 4 losses
2011 CanWest Record: 9-9 (6th)
2011 CanWest Championship: 0-2
Last CanWest Title: N/A
Last CIS Title: N/A

TRU’s record: The WolfPack had a bye last weekend but were eliminated from any chance at the post season when they hosted the Saskatchewan Huskies two weeks ago.  The WolfPack are 2-6 on the road this year, beating Winnipeg in Winnipeg and taking out the Thunderbirds in Vancouver. The third TRU win was at home versus Calgary back in October.

Head-to-head: UBC Okanagan have met the WolfPack in exhibition nine times since 2006 with the WolfPack leading that record 8-1. Most recently the Heat lost to Thompson Rivers in three sets (21-25, 28-30, 23-25) on Oct 21 in Kamloops.

Preston Tucker and his thoughts on the WolfPack:  “It’s been a rivalry that’s developed over the last few years. We would always head up there and play exhibition games…I think it’s a good way to end the season.”

Players to watch: The WolfPack have seven players among the leaders in Canada West individual statistics. Alex Davis (4th year, middle, White Rock, BC) is sixth in hitting percentage (.304). Gunter is 12th in kills (3.21 per game) and 13th in points (3.63 per game).

Future of TRU: Pat Hennelly, coach of the WolfPack, has 12 players eligible to return in 2012-13. He looks at his roster and singles out a few players for their progress. “I think a couple of guys have really improved this year. Jacob Tricarico (3rd year, middle, Huntington Beach, CA) is playing a much higher level, both physically and technically. Brad Gunter (1st year, outside hitter, Courtenay, BC) had a great year for a rookie and was our top offensive guy and Casey Knight (2nd year, outside hitter, Salt Spring Island, BC) has played well after recovering from his stress fracture in the first semester.”
Preseason info from Canada West:

Key additions: Brad Gunter (outside hitter), Chris Osborne (outside hitter), Jacob Tricarico (middle)
Key returnees: Colin Carson (setter), Alex Davis (middle), Spencer Reed (libero), Aleks Saddlemyer (outside hitter), Mike Hawkins (setter)
Key departures: Kevin Tillie (outside hitter), Joel Caschetto (middle)

KAMLOOPS, BC – Pat Hennelly has a new list of imports, such as middle Mohamed Abdel Rehim, Krzysztof Orman, along with Chris Osborne and Jacob Tricarico.

Mohamed played on the Egyptian Junior and Youth National teams.  Osborne red shirted last season after playing a year at the University of Manitoba and has played NCAA Division I basketball and volleyball in the past.  Orman played beach volleyball internationally for Poland. Tricarico played California Junior College volleyball and was looking to come to Canada and chose TRU.

Third-years Colin Carson and Spencer Reed have taken leadership roles and Alex Davis, 6’8” middle, spent some time with Canada’s Junior National team before being injured.

The WolfPack are a young squad again this year, with only two fifth-year players: Aleks Saddlemeyer and Mike Hawkins.


* Volleyball win probability:



-          With notes from Larry Read (Sports Information Officer, WolfPack Athletics)


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