The UBC Okanagan Heat fell to the Thompson Rivers WolfPack in the inaugural match of the Big Kahuna B.C. Cup Wednesday, falling in three sets (26-24, 25-23, 25-21), at the Tournament Capital Centre in Kamloops.
The most efficient Heat player was second-year Leo Schober, a middle blocker from Kelowna Secondary Owls, who finished the night with four kills and two blocks.
With Canada West All-Star Nate Speijer (5th year, outside hitter, Penticton) a bit banged up from matches last weekend versus Argentina, fourth-year outsite hitter Riley McFarland (Surrey) picked up the slack and finished with 10 kills to lead the Heat. McFarland also contributed two blocks.
Jeremy Kler (Vernon), now in his fifth year, was the team’s best receiver with 70 per cent of his passes being perfect.
With several new faces, Heat head coach Greg Poitras has yet to see a preseason victory, but he’s not overly concerned as he tinkers with his lineup,
“We played all three sets tough; we just couldn’t find a way to finish. With nine new members on the squad from last year – means that we are still just trying to get the timing and rhythm of each other down at this point in the season,” said Poitras.
“I’m not making it any easier as a coach on them, as I continue to try different lineups and rotations – mixing it up out there, as much as possible.”
For the WolfPack, Casey Knight (third year, outside hitter, Salt Spring Island) had 12 kills, four blocks and three aces. Newcomer Philip Ozari, (outside hitter, Denmark) added 10 kills, four blocks and four aces. Matt Krueger (third year, libero, Abbotsford) had nine digs.
The other two schools in the Big Kahuna Cup are the Trinity Western Spartans of Langley and the UBC Thunderbirds.