Women’s Volleyball (Canada West conference play)
Jack Simpson Gymnasium, Calgary, AB
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CALGARY, AB - The Heat women's volleyball team flexed their offensive muscle Sunday in their matinee contest versus the Calgary Dinos, hitting a combined .303 to earn their sixth straight victory 3-0 (25-22, 25-20, 25-18), ending the first semester on a high note.
UBC Okanagan's record now stands at 10-2 after the Heat were able to close out their final six games of 2013 without a loss. All six of these wins have been straight set victories as well, putting the Heat's unbeaten set streak at 18.
“Extremely happy with our first half,” were the understated thoughts of reigning CIS women’s volleyball coach of the year Steve Manuel.
Manuel, in his 13th season as bench boss of this Heat women’s volleyball program, has his team, in just its third CIS season playing great volleyball and have been ranked in the Top Ten nationally all year long, and will surely climb in the rankings with this weekend’s results.
The veteran coach of the Heat has recruited a strong team, and although playing very well the core group are in just year two or three of eligibility. Even with his young squad he explains how it is the effort of his team that deserves all the credit for an .833 winning percentage in the first semester, in the nation’s toughest conference.
“The hard work that our student athletes have been putting in has been paying off,” Manuel simply states and that “our team has consistently found ways to get the job done.”
The Heat's unbeaten streak has vaulted the team to second place in Canada West, just two wins behind their 12-0 sister team - the UBC Thunderbirds. Both teams will meet on January 10th and 11th at UBC’s Okanagan campus gymnasium to resume the Canada West season in what will surely be one of the most highly anticipated series of the season in Canadian women’s volleyball.
Before that January battle, Manuel has his team focused on the other important part of the student-athlete, the academic side. “We will focus on exams and physical training for the next few weeks leading into our competition in Barbados.”
After exams and the Holiday the Heat will travel to Barbados in late December for an exhibition series, including friendly games versus the Barbados national team.
Once again in the Sunday match the Heat received strong play from the middle, which was a huge component of the Heat's victory. Katie Wuttunnee (3rd year, North Vancouver, BC) was an effective 10 for 11 from the attack, while Katy Klomps (3rd year, Surrey, BC) was 9 for 16. Both Wuttunee and Klomps would combine for half of the Heat's block assists on the afternoon (12/24). Kaitlynn Given (2nd year, Kelowna, BC) would provide the majority of the Heat's offense from the outside with 12 kills, while chipping in 12 digs as well.
Maura Hayes (4th year, Cupids, N.L) had her way with the Heat defense early with 10 kills in the first set and a half, but she disappeared from the middle portion of the second set onward - a major contributing factor in the Dinos loss.
The early portions of all three sets were played extremely close by both teams, and neither team could muster more than a five-point cushion. However, the Heat were first to the technical timeout in all three stanzas, and from 16 points onward, the Heat would never trail.