Sunday October 7, 2012
LANGLEY, BC - The UBC Okanagan Heat took to the road for one last weekend of preseason exhibition play, and ended up winning two out of those three exhibition matchups.
Thursday night saw the Heat taking on the visiting Fudan University squad from Shanghai, China at the UBC War Memorial Gymnasium. This marked the second time UBC Okanagan has played against an international team since joining the CIS, the first earlier in the preseason against the U-23 Argentinean men’s national team in two exhibition games in Kelowna. The Heat struggled early in the opening set with errors, but then an offensive run spearheaded by outside hitters Nate Speijer (5th year, Penticton, BC) and Riley McFarland (5th year, Surrey, BC) sent them into the lead, never looking back. Fudan made a comeback run in the second set after the Heat took a commanding 7 point lead, but could not quite overcome the sharp UBC Okanagan offense on Friday night. The Heat won in straight sets 3-0 (25-21, 25-22, 25-20).
On Friday UBC Okanagan had their second BC Cup match of the year, this time against intercampus rivals the UBC Thunderbirds. If this match is any indication, the rivalry will bring out the best in both teams this year when they face off. The Thunderbirds took an exciting first set 27-25 and looked to take an equally thrilling second set off of UBC Okanagan, but the Heat fought hard and captured the second set 26-24. Ever determined, the Heat continued to play a strong offensive match and won the first intercampus matchup of the year in four sets 3-1 (25-27, 26-24, 25-16, 25-17). The win also earned UBC Okanagan their first point toward this year’s BC Cup competition.
In their final exhibition matchup of the preseason, the Heat played the two time defending CIS champions Trinity Western Spartans. UBC Okanagan struggled against the powerful Spartan offense, which hit .400 combined on Saturday night. TWU ended up taking the match in straight sets 3-0 (25-18, 25-11, 25-16).
“All in all this was a positive tour for our squad,” reflected head coach Greg Poitras. “We had highs and lows that go along with competing this time of year. We will take positives from all three matches.
“The season is right around the corner and we have a lot of work to do in preparation. We are much more healthy than we were a few weeks ago and so the training has been very competitive as of late.”
The Heat are off until their season opener on the road against Thompson Rivers on October 26 at 7:45 p.m.