A test this weekend for the third ranked UBC Okanagan Heat women's volleyball team as they host the No. 1 Alberta Pandas in a pair of matches in Kelowna. Friday night first serve is at 6 p.m. and the rematch will hit the Okanagan hardwood at 5 p.m.
Game Times (PST)
Canada West conference matches
@ UBC Okanagan gymnasium, Kelowna, BC
|UBCO||TALE OF THE TAPE||AB|
|13.00 (2)||Kills/set||12.80 (3)|
|.265 (2)||Hitting Pct.||.224 (4)|
|.061||Opp Hitting Pct.||.123|
|12.02 (3)||Assists/set||12.14 (2)|
|2.13 (4)||Services Aces/set||2.14 (3)|
|13.98 (2)||Digs/set||14.44 (1)|
|2.64 (2)||Blocks/set||1.96 (9)|
CIS National Ranking: No. 3
CanWest Standings: t-1st
Last week (Jan 8-9): 2-0 // (Fri W, 3-0) (Sat W, 3-0) @ Manitoba
Streak: Won 8
2014-15 Record: (27-9, 19-5) (T1st)
2015 CanWest Playoffs: 2-2 - 4th
2015 CIS Tournament: N/A
Last CanWest Title: N/A
Last CIS Title: N/A
KELOWNA, B.C – Two teams tied for first in Canada West hook up with a two matches that may go a long way in determining the top seed in Canada West and a bye and host berth to the Final Four.
Current Form : The Heat continued their magical form in the league as they beat hosts Manitoba to open 2016 and extend their winning streak to eight games and are now 13-1 and part of a three-way tie for first in Canada West with Alberta and Trinity Western.
The program has lost just one game at home so far and has been unbeaten on their travels. The top of the table clash this upcoming weekend will be a real test for the in-form Heat.
Upcoming schedule: The Heat will face off in their next three series, over four weeks, against No. 1 Alberta , No.2 Trinity Western and No. 5 UBC in the country, these three teams have a combined 37-3 record. After Alberta this weekend UBCO will enjoy a bye, and then they will host sister school, UBC. February 5-6 they play in Langley against the TWU Spartans.
Coach Steve Manuel on having all the top teams bunched together in the schedule: "It doesn’t really matter any longer, we are in a great spot and these next three weekends of competition will simply determine seeding for the top four teams heading into playoffs. We continue to focus primarily on ourselves. We have prepared for the next three weeks and this will give us a great idea what we need to be doing as we head into playoffs."
Home/Road: Currently the Heat are just 4-1 at home and 9-0 away from Kelowna.
Key Players : Libero Kailin Jones stands fourth across the country with 155 digs at 3.30 digs per set. Outside Hitter Brianna Beamish stands first in the conference with a hitting percentage of .336 and .57 service aces per set. Middle blocker Katy Klomps has been in sublime form this season as she stands third overall with 60 blocks and first overall with 1.43 blocks per set.
Team Stat: UBC Okanagan stands second in the conference with 124 blocks. The Heat have climbed to second place with a hitting percentage of .265.
Coach's thoughts on last weekend and the team's preparation for the second half over the break: "The training and competition over the break was outstanding. We were able to work on improving our play and we are ready for the push here in term two."
Manuel's thoughts on Alberta: "Alberta is a solid team in every position, no real weaknesses. We need to control the first contact, that will give our block/defense an opportunity to do it’s job while helping us to run our offence. We will need to contain or at least manage Meg Cassault, she continues to be a force attacking."
Overall Head to Head : (3-5) in conference play. Last year these teams opened the conference season in Edmonton and played to a split. Last time in Kelowna (2013/14) in conference play the teams split.
#1 ALBERTA PANDAS (24-4, 13-1 Canada West)
CIS National Ranking: No. 1
CanWest Standings: T-1st
Last week (Jan 8-9): 1-1 // (Fri L, 3-1) (Sat W, 3-2) @ TWU
Streak: Win 1
2014-15 CW Regular Season Record: 19-5
2014-15 CW Playoff Record: 1-1
2014-15 Overall Record: 35-9
Last CW Title/Total CW Titles: 2012/12
Last CIS Title/Total CIS Titles: 2007/7
The Alberta Pandas – Last year’s Canada West runners up, the Pandas have once again looked nothing short of excellent in this year’s conference. Just like their opponents, the Pandas have lost just one game this year.
Current Form – The Pandas and the Heat go in with identical records of 13 wins and one loss in the conference. The Pandas split at Trinity Western this past weekend, each team handing the other their first loss of the year.
Players : Outside hitter Meg Casault stands second overall with 197 kills at 4.58 kills per set. Libero Jessie Niles stands third overall with 177 digs and second overall with 3.54 digs per set.
Team Stat – The Pandas sit second with 722 digs in the conference from their 14 games and the Pandas are first placed with 640 kills in the conference.
Number of new players: 3
Key Recruits (Name (POS/Hometown/Last Team):
Number of departing players: 2
Key Losses (Name (POS/number of years with team): Dione Lang (Middle/5), Josi Doerfler (Outside/1)
Key performer: Meg Casault – Outside Hitter
The Pandas will look to Canada West all-star and CIS All-Canadian Meg Casault to lead an already dangerous offence. Casault finished second in the conference in kills per set, and third in points per set last season.
Coach Quote: “Like every year, we expect to compete for the Canada West Championship. It is an incredibly tough conference and will be a great challenge to make the playoffs and then to move on from there. I believe we have very good balance across our lineup and depth to fill positions where necessary.” - Alberta head coach Laurie Eisler.
Key storyline: The defending Canada West and CIS silver medalist Alberta Pandas will enter 2015 with one goal in mind - to once again compete for championships. The squad fell just short a year ago, losing in the finals of both the conference and national championships in five sets, both at the hands of the Trinity Western Spartans.
Fortunately for Alberta, they will be bringing back a veteran lineup chock-full of playoff experience, which will be gunning for the programs first CW title since 2012. With only two departing players from last year’s team, the 2015 Pandas will have no shortage of leadership. CIS All-Canadian Meg Casault is back anchoring the Alberta offence at the outside position, while Canada West all-rookie selection Erica Walsh is primed to have another strong season at setter. The Pandas will open the season on October 16th, as they host the TRU WolfPack in a weekend series at the Saville Community Sports Centre.