The UBC Okanagan Heat women’s volleyball team has picked up another star recruit who has already taken home her fair share of gold medals at the national level.
The 5’11” Calgary-born Megan Festival, an outside hitter from Western Canada High in Alberta, will be the third recruit for the Heat women’s volleyball team and another step towards establishing a strong, young team to play against the top teams in the CIS league. Megan also happens to be the sister of 6’ outside hitter Jill Festival (Calgary, AB) who will be going into her fourth season with the Heat.
“The opportunity to play with my sister is one of the main reasons I chose UBC Okanagan,” says Megan Festival. We are very close and I believe the competition between us will bring a sense of healthy competition to the team and our relationship.”
Heat head coach Steve Manuel could not be happier to bring this type of close-knit competitive relationship to the team going into the second season of CIS play.
“I first noticed Megan at the 14U Canadian West Open in 2008. Her team was the class of the championship taking home the title and making a lasting impression on me. From there we followed Megan’s progress, watching her grow as a player as she continued to win championships.”
“By the conclusion of the Volleyball Canada 17U Nationals last spring, I knew that Megan was a player that we needed to add to our program. She was a difference maker in her team’s come from behind victory in the final to win the 17U National Title. At that point she became a top priority for us, we couldn’t be happier that she has decided to join the Heat.”
The Heat are quickly proving their ability to play at this level. The future is bright for the new Canada West team which looks to be quickly evolving and growing, especially in light of the new recruits.
”This is another exciting announcement for our women’s volleyball program. Megan is a complete player, bringing great ball control to the court and a very lively right arm to our offense. She has a wide range of shots, able to mix things up with well-placed off speed attacks but she can also bring the heat. She has a calm demeanour but brings a fiery competitiveness, she will fit in nicely with the team and in the classroom.”
Festival is a strong student, having recently won the Myrna Empey Scholarship based on volleyball, academics, community and school involvement. She will be entering the Management program at UBC Okanagan and is excited to be attending a school that is still growing.
“I chose the Heat because I want to contribute to a growing new program in the CIS rather than an established team program,” says Festival. “The small and intimate campus was appealing to me as it seemed to provide a strong sense of community among the team. The team chemistry seemed like a good fit and I really enjoy Coach Manuel’s coaching style.”
Festival is a competitive player and hopes to instill some healthy competition on the team and challenge her teammates to push themselves to the fullest.
“I feel my strengths as a volleyball player are my ability to compete and focus, while technically I believe my strengths are my ball control and defense,” continues Festival. “My goal as a player is to help make the Heat a top ranked CIS team.”
Festival’s resume includes eight gold medals at competitions such as the Volleyball Canada Beach Nationals, the National Team Challenge Cup, the Alberta Volleyball Provincials, and the Indoor Nationals in which she was the team captain. She has also represented Canada as team captain at the 2010 Norceca Competition in Guatemala, placing seventh overall.
Festival joins outside hitter Kaitlynn Given (Kelowna Secondary) and setter Emily Oxland (Handsworth Sec., N. Vancouver, BC) as high school players that have secured themselves a spot on the Heat for this September. Rounding out the list of Manuel’s recruits is 6’2” middle blocker Katie Wuttunee (Carson Graham Sec., N. Vancouver, BC) who will be transferring from Capilano University.