Within their first two seasons in Canada West, both the Men’s and Women’s Heat volleyball squads made the playoffs once apiece. Now, with the 2013-14 Canada West schedule announced and the season looming, the teams are hungry for a chance to prove that their appearances were not just beginner’s luck.
Only the top seven teams in the conference will advance to the Canada West playoffs, and we could very well see playoff bids for the Heat come down to the wire at the end of the season the way it did for each of the team’s trip to the dance. And there is no correlation to being new to a conference and a team’s ability to succeed, as both the Heat and last year’s Canada West entrant Mount Royal have proved, with the women’s squads duking it out in an epic battle at the UBC Okanagan gymnasium in the first round of the playoffs last season.
The Heat men will open their season on home court on Friday, October 25th and feature the annual BC Interior showdown versus the Thompson Rivers WolfPack, with the women in Kamloops battling the WolfPack on the Friday. The teams then switch locales the next day with the women’s home opener Saturday night, while the men invade Kamloops to wrap up Canada West opening weekend.
The following weekend (November 2-3) the Heat will welcome Mount Royal to Kelowna. After the Heat women’s heartbreaking loss in the first round last year, the girls in blue and gold will be out for revenge. One of only two schools newer to Canada West than UBC Okanagan, the Cougars squads will still bring poise, determination and confidence that will be sure to make for an electric showdown of two of the conferences’ best newcomers, and that could possibly become an annual rivalry.
This year the Heat have the honour again of hosting the campus-campus showdown when they will square off versus the UBC Thunderbirds in the first action of 2014, the weekend of January 10-11 at UBC’s Okanagan campus will see UBC versus UBC. Always a fan favorite, this matchup draws droves from not just the student body, but the community at large.
Once again the Heat teams will look to prove that they are no second fiddle to the long-established Thunderbirds and can also be a perennial staple of the upper echelon of Canada West competition. The women T-Birds have captured six straight CIS championships and perhaps this will be the year the Okanagan campus takes one off the champs. The men’s Heat squad downed their Vancouver rival back in October of 2011.
The Heat will also have the luxury of closing out the season on home floor when they will host the University of Regina Cougars. This weekend matchup could become essential for the Heat teams if they are facing win or go-home scenarios for getting into the playoffs. A distinctively better team at home than they traditionally are on the road, the Heat squads will relish the opportunity to have the crowds at their backs to wrap up the regular season.
As mentioned both the men and the women have qualified for the post-season in volleyball, this year the best-of-three quarter-finals get underway the week of February 14. If the Heat advance through the first round the Canada West Final Four is set for the Feb. 21-22 weekend. Men’s schools will play for the coveted Costa Chrysanthou Trophy, while women attempt to secure the Women’s Intervarsity Volleyball Trophy.
The CIS nationals for both men’s and women’s volleyball will be hosted by Canada West schools this year. The University of Regina women and Calgary men are assured CIS spots to the big dance and both championships will take place Feb. 28 – Mar. 2.
For more info on schedules and game time please visit www.goheat.ca.
All Canada West basketball games, as well as livestats, can be viewed online at www.canadawest.tv.
Heat Home Volleyball Schedule:
|Fri Oct. 25||Thompson Rivers||7pm (M)|
|Sat Oct. 26||Thompson Rivers||6pm (W)|
|Sat Nov. 2||Mt. Royal||1pm (W) 3pm (M)|
|Sun Nov. 3||Mt. Royal||1pm (W) 3pm (M)|
|Fri Nov. 22||Winnipeg||6pm (W) 8pm (M)|
|Sat Nov. 23||Winnipeg||5pm (W) 7pm (M)|
|Fri Jan. 10||UBC||6pm (W) 8pm (M)|
|Sat Jan. 11||UBC||5pm (W) 7pm (M)|
|Fri Jan. 24||Alberta||6pm (W) 8pm (M)|
|Sat Jan. 25||Alberta||5pm (W) 7pm (M)|
|Fri Feb. 7||Regina||6pm (W) 8pm (M)|
|Sat Feb. 8||Regina||5pm (W) 7pm (M)|