The UBC Okanagan Heat took down the University of Regina Cougars in four sets (19-25, 25-16, 25-21, 25-21) in CIS men’s volleyball action Saturday night at the UBCO North Campus Gym.
The Heat, who outlasted the Cougars in a tie-breaking fifth set, 3-2 (18-25, 25-23, 25-18, 23-25, 15-6) Friday night, improved to 5-11, only two games out of a playoff spot.
Regina took the first set Saturday after a kill by freshman Andrew Nelson. The Heat changed things up for the second set, with freshman middle Leigh Goossen seeing a lot of floor time from then on.
Outside hitter Greg Niemantsverdriet (third year, Vernon) was instrumental in the Heat’s offensive effort, pounding a monstrous kill to tie the game at 5-5 and adding another kill shortly after to give his team the lead.
Nate Speijer and fellow outside hitter Riley McFarland were also in fine form, complementing UBC Okanagan’s ever-strengthening offensive presence on the court. The Heat converted 45.5 per cent of kills in the second set, accounting for 19 of the points scored in their 25-16 second-set win.
“Greg (Niemantsverdriet) has really turned the corner,” said Heat head coach Greg Poitras. “It’s like night and day where he’s at with his attacking and serving.
“Leigh had a key touch on the block and served tough as well. He did what he needed to do to stay on the court.”
Niemantsverdriet led the Heat with a game-high 17 kills and 14 digs, while Speijer pounded 15 kills.
Heat captain and setter Preston Tucker (fifth year, Vernon) shot up 51 assists and grabbed a team-high 13 digs Friday night.
The Heat, who have four games left before the playoffs, open a weekend series in Saskatoon tonight versus the 3-13 Huskies. The Heat are trying to catch the 7-11 Winnipeg Wesmen for the seventh and final playoff berth.
In CIS women’s basketball, the Heat had no answer against the UBC Thunderbird’s stifling defence in a 71-40 loss Saturday night at War Memorial Gym.
UBC Okanagan could not find any offensive rhythm and it didn’t take long for the No. 3-ranked T-Birds to take complete control of the game. Within the first three minutes the hosts – who have won eight in a row – had an eight point lead on the Heat.
With the Heat’s offensive struggling against the athletic UBC defence, the Thunderbirds built up a 19-7 lead after the first quarter and held a 25-point advantage at halftime.
The deficit continued to grow for the Heat through the third quarter, and by the time the fourth rolled around the ‘Birds were up 56-17 and held a 25-6 advantage in points off turnovers, holding the Heat to 18 per cent shooting from the floor.
Emily Kanester, a Vernon Panther grad, and Maddie Kaneda, a former Fulton Maroon, supplied eight and six points respectively.
“The team was flat at the start of the game,” said Heat coach Heather Semeniuk. “They (T-Birds) came out really strong tonight, way stronger than last night (81-57 loss). I think that, combined with the fact that we struggled putting the ball in the hoop, took us down a notch.”
UBC moved to 12-2 on the year, while the Heat dipped to 2-12. They host the 6-8 University of Victoria Vikings tonight (6 p.m.) and Saturday at 4 p.m. Fans are urged to wear pink shirts for tonight’s Shoot For The Cure game.