KELOWNA – After a stellar regular season with 19 wins and five losses, the UBC-Okanagan Heat women’s volleyball team enters the playoffs this weekend.
They’re taking on the University of Manitoba Bisons in a best-of-three series.
“It’ll be a great series,” says coach Steve Manuel. “Manitoba is the defending national champions and they have some very good players. They have one in particular who is leading the country in scoring so she’ll be a handful, we’ll have to contain her.”
But the Heat have the country’s number one ranked hitter and the number one ranked blocker.
They’ve also got intangibles, like dedication and cohesiveness, that don’t show up on the stat sheet.
“Every team I’ve played on with the Heat has been exceptional, from the first year to the fifth. But this year there’s something special in terms of how we work together on and off the court which is really neat,” says Chandler Proch.
The coach is quick to credit the players for the team’s success and they return the compliment.
“It’s his intensity and knowledge of the game. He’s probably the smartest coach I’ve ever had,” says Kailin Jones.
The first game against the Bisons is Friday at 5:00 p.m. at UBCO with the second game Saturday at 5:00 p.m.
The coach likes the team’s chances of going all the way to the nationals and capturing the championship.
“It won’t easy but I think we’ve got the horses to pull this off, I think we can do it,” says Manuel.
But whatever happens in the playoffs, the prospects for the Heat look good again next season.
All but one of the 15 players are expected to return to the team.