What you need to know
- The fifth ranked Heat women's volleyball team open up the second half of their Canada West season this weekend when they host the Alberta Pandas.
- It was a solid first half of the season for the Heat, as they finished with a record of 8-4 in conference play including wins against national powers UBC and Trinity Western.
- Alberta is 7-5 this season so far, following a national silver medal last season and currently are the 8th ranked team in U SPORTS national rankings.
GAME TIMES (PST)
All matches to be played at the Gymnasium at UBC Okanagan.
Players to watch:
- Second year setter Sara McCreary has played fantastic all year for the team as the Edmonton product leads the conference in assists per set (10.52) and sits second in total assists (463). She has recorded over 24 assists in every match so far this season, including a season-high 48 assists in a four-set victory against Regina on Nov.25th in Kelowna
- Siobhan Fitzpatrick and Ann Richards have been a dynamic duo on either side of the court for the Heat this season as the right sided Richards leads the team in kills with 129, and Fitzpatrick, who is a left sided hitter, is not far behind with 118 kills to her name halfway through the season.
- The Heat offense was on point during the first half of the season as they ranked in the top two in the Canada west in hitting percentage (.227), kills per set (12.84) and assists per set (11.95)
- With the top eight teams making the postseason, the Heat are looking to solidify their playoff position to gain home-court advantage throughout the postseason.
- The schedule for the team will lighten up after the back to back with the Pandas, as just one of the final five opponents following this weekend for the Heat have a winning record
Head-to-head with the Pandas: (5-7 regular season, 0-1 postseason)
- The Pandas ended UBCO's season last March after a three-set win at the Final Four in Edmonton.
- The last time the Heat hosted Alberta was in 2015-16 when the home team got back to back wins on home-court.
- The Pandas are coming off a national silver medal and Canada West championship last season, but are a much different team this season after losing conference all-stars Meg Casault, Kacey Otto and Mariah Walsh.
- So far this season Alberta is 7-5, with three of these five losses coming to nationally ranked opponents in UBC and Trinity Western.
- Going on the road was not kind to the Pandas in the first half of the season as they had a losing record away from home (2-3) compared to a 5-2 record on home court.
- The Pandas are led by right side hitter Kory White a transfer from Seattle University, who in her first year with the team has put up 177 kills (3rd most in the conference) during the first half of the season. The Edmonton product has put up double-digit kill totals in all 12 matches she has played in, including a season-high 23 kills against Trinity Western on Nov.25th.
- Eryn Orysiuk is another player to watch out for, as the fifth year setter averages the second most assists per set (10.0) in the Canada West. Orysiuk is also potent from the service line, as her 27 service aces so far this season is the third best in the conference.
Janae Eisler / LB / 1st/ Edmonton, Alta. / Team Alberta
Kory White / RS / 2nd/ Edmonton, Alta. / Seattle University
Elyse Hart / S / 1st/ Bragg Creek, Alta. / Team Alberta
Julia Zonneveld / OH / 1st/ Calgary, Alta. / Team Alberta