The University of British Columbia

PREVIEW: Men's volleyball host No. 5 UBC for graduating player weekend

PREVIEW: Men's volleyball host No. 5 UBC for graduating player weekend

What you need to know


  • Last weekend the UBCO Heat hosted MacEwan and captured their first two wins of the season in a weekend sweep.
  • The pair of wins is the first sweep the Heat have completed since November of 2017, and the UBCO will look to extend their winning streak this weekend.
  • To win their third and fourth in a row the Heat need to take down the No. 5 UBC Thunderbirds (13-5).
  • The Thunderbirds head to town fresh, coming off their Regina bye week.
  • The big-sister school last played in January, against No. 1 TWU where they were handed a pair of losses and slipped to third in the standings. With two games in hand, they are six points back of second place in Canada West.
  • Just before the men's warmup on Saturday, the Heat's graduating players Denham O'Reilly and Johnson Yi will be honoured and thanked for their contributions to the program in a pregame ceremony.  
  • On-site in the UBCO Gym all weekend will be a Beer Garden for all of-age fans.

GAME TIMES (PST) 

FRIDAY, FEB 7th

Volleyball (M) | Canada West conference home match
8 PM |
 UBC Okanagan Heat (2-16) vs the No. 5 UBC Thunderbirds (13-5) | Webcast | Live Stats
Ticket Information  | @ UBC Okanagan Gymnasium, Kelowna, BC

SATURDAY, FEB 8th - Graduating Player Night

Volleyball (M) | Canada West conference home match
6 PM |
 UBC Okanagan Heat vs the UBC Thunderbirds | Webcast | Live Stats
Ticket Information  | @ UBC Okanagan Gymnasium, Kelowna, BC 


Heating up as the season enters the home stretch

  • An epic comeback for a five-set win last Friday night, the effort and energy spilled over to Saturday for UBCO who rolled the visiting Griffins to their first straight-set victory of the season. 
  • The team hit over .200 on both nights, a mark they have reached only one other time this season. Their 53 kills in Friday's match eclipsed their season-high. Their 40 put-aways on Saturday in the win was a high mark for three-set matches on the season.
  • Steady defense all weekend has the team now ranked fourth in digs per set in the conference.

O'Reilly, o-so-versatile

  • It was the play of versatile Denham O'Reilly, his recent success after moving to an outside hitter position was key in the Heat's pair of victories over GMU.
  • The aforementioned O'Reilly set a new career-high in kills with 20 on Friday, following that up with a team-high 13 kills in Saturday's straight-set win
  • The fifth-year setter, part-time libero, who has now turned to outside hitter ranks first in Canada West in digs per set and third in total digs this season.

Graduating Player Night

  • Just before the men's warmup on Saturday, the Heat's graduating players Denham O'Reilly and Johnson Yi will be honoured and thanked for their contributions to the program in a pregame ceremony.  

Denham O'Reilly:

  • The product of Langley has been one of the more versatile Heat players in recent memory, seeing starts at libero, setter, and outside hitter in his time with the program.
  • O'Reilly has played in 40 conference matches so far and has racked up 389 assists, 240 digs, 160 kills, 56 total blocks, and 16 service aces.
  • He has been especially hot as of late, as in his last three games he has 43 kills, including a career-high of 20 set last weekend against MacEwan in a five-set win. 

Johnson Yi:

  • Yi has been the last two seasons with UBCO after transferring from Douglas College.
  • The middle blocker from Vancouver has seen action in 29 Canada West matches since joining the program and has totaled an impressive 69 total blocks along with 56 kills in his time with the Heat.

Head-to-head with UBC (3-13)

  • The two schools met last season, as UBC won both games in straight sets in Vancouver, although all six sets were decided by single-digit margins. Then freshman Neaves recorded 25 kills in last year's weekend set for the Birds as Heppell led the Heat in kills both matches.

Scouting the T'Birds

Season to date

  • After starting the season (1-3) the fifth-ranked team in the country rebounded, rallying off 14 wins a row before losing both matches to TWU two weekends ago.
  • The team ranks third in both assists (11.41) and kills per set (12.19), along with the top mark in serving in the conference, averaging (2.24) aces per set.

Players to watch

  • Coltyn Liu has done the brunt of the damage for UBC at the service line. He leads the conference in aces (42) and aces per set (.47), coincidently also with the most errors (106) from the line.
  • Sophomore hitter Matt Neaves has the most kills on the Thunderbirds roster, recording 3.3 per set, the seventh-best mark in Canada West. In 18 starts for the Birds, he has recorded 10 or more kills in all but three matches