As UBC Okanagan volleyball approaches its fourth round of CIS competition, both the men’s and women’s squads from Kelowna have high hopes for what will be a long Canada West season.
With the addition of Edmonton’s MacEwan University the 2014-15 design features 24 conference games, and two more weekends than in previous seasons - season starts October 10 for the volleyballers.
Coming off a Canada West fourth place finish, the Heat women are earning a winning reputation that they are hungry to build upon. Meanwhile, the men continue to work diligently and the young guns have their eyes locked on another playoff push. With few departures on both sides, and the addition of a number of talented recruits, both Greg Poitras’ men’s team and Steve Manuel’s women’s crew are eager to make a splash in Canada’s top tier.
In 2010-11 seven of the 10 teams in Canada West made the playoffs, this season the top seven squads still qualify for the post season yet there are now 13 teams fighting for those top seven spots.
With less chance for a post season berth the battle for a chance to play late into February will be spectacular, and in true Canada West fashion the end of season match ups are likely to come down to the wire once again in 2015. Each and every double header weekend will prove crucial for a team’s chances of a playoff run.
The Heat women will attempt to qualify for a third straight year, and the men’s squad look to return to late February play for the first time in three years. This season of Canada West volleyball has UBC Okanagan eagerly preparing for another season of battle.
The Heat will open the year in Edmonton against the Alberta Pandas and Golden Bears on Friday and Saturday (October 11-12). A powerful men’s squad, the Golden Bears are the reigning CIS champions.
Meanwhile, ranked nationally throughout 13-14, the Alberta women were edged out of quarterfinal playoff action last season by the 2014 CIS Champion Manitoba Bisons. It should be a thrilling start to a new season of competition for UBC Okanagan.
The home opener for the UBC Okanagan will a mid-October affair, in what is quickly becoming a BC rivalry, as Langley’s Trinity Western Spartans travel the Coquihalla for a pair of games on the Okanagan campus.
Another BC rivalry, the UBC campus versus campus, will this year be hosted in War Memorial as the Thunderbirds will have the honour of hosting the showdown when the Vancouver school teams square off with the Heat on Halloween weekend (Oct 31-Nov 1).
Always a fan favorite, this matchup draws droves from not just the student body, but also the community at large. Followers of both campuses are excited to see which squad in blue and gold will finish on top.
In total the UBC Okanagan volleyball teams will play 16 league matches before the first semester break, the last set of games in 2014 will be at home when Canada West newcomers, the MacEwan Griffins cross the Rockies for two games at the end of November (Fri 28- Sat 29). New to Canada West the Heat won’t look past their Edmonton foes, understanding that there is no correlation to conference newness and a team’s ability to succeed.
For the first action in 2015 the Heat will host another Alberta school as the Calgary Dinos play in Kelowna on January 8-9.
In a Thursday evening (Jan 15) match the Heat will host the Thompson Rivers WolfPack on Saturday the 17th the UBC Okanagan will face their Interior rival ‘Pack in Kamloops in what is always a boisterous affair.
The Heat will once again have the luxury of closing out the season in the UBC Okanagan gymnasium, this year the Heat will host the Brandon Bobcats in what will likely be an essential matchup to all four squad’s post-season aspirations.
If the Heat women qualify for their third straight post season the playoffs will begin for them he weekend of February 13-15 with the Canada West quarterfinals, same weekend for the men’s playoffs to begin - unless either team ends up in first in which case they would receive a bye to the Canada West Final Four.
Saskatchewan plays host to the CIS men’s championships from February 26-28, while the women play for the national championship in Toronto from February 27-March 1.
For more info on schedules and up to date game times please visit www.goheat.ca.
All Canada West volleyball games, as well as livestats, can be viewed online at www.canadawest.tv.
Heat Home Volleyball Schedule:
|Fri Oct 17||Trinity Western||6pm (W) 8pm (M)|
|Sat Oct 18||Trinity Western||5pm (W) 7pm (M)|
|Fri Oct 24||Manitoba||6pm (W) 8pm (M)|
|Sat Oct 25||Manitoba||6pm (W) 8pm (M)|
|Fri Nov 14||Saskatchewan||6pm (W) 8pm (M)|
|Sat Nov 15||Saskatchewan||5pm (W) 7pm (M)|
|Fri Nov 28||MacEwan||6pm (W) 8pm (M)|
|Sat Nov 29||MacEwan||5pm (W) 7pm (M)|
|Fri Jan 9||Calgary||6pm (W) 8pm (M)|
|Sat Jan 10||Calgary||5pm (W) 7pm (M)|
|Thu Jan 15||Thompson Rivers||6pm (W) 8pm (M)|
|Fri Feb 6||Brandon||6pm (W) 8pm (M)|
|Sat Feb 7||Brandon||5pm (W) 7pm (M)|