HEAT Men Set New Record as Seniors Say Goodbye

March 14th, 2017

Photo provided by GreyStoke Photography

Photo provided by GreyStoke Photography

For the UBC Okanagan Heat men’s volleyball team, the 2016/17 season was their most successful to date since joining U Sports (then CIS) in 2012. The men closed out the season on a four-match win streak, with the last giving them nine on the season, the most the Heat men have ever had. That record is set in the first season for head coach Brad Hudson.

That ninth win came in the annual Seniors Night match, before which departing student-athletes Alex Swiatlowski and Grant Sonnenberg were honoured in the end-of-season ceremony.

“I was fearing not being able to play here in our last home game,” said Swiatlowski after the match. He had to undergo the concussion protocol the week before, and there were concerns he wouldn’t be able to play, but he was cleared in time. “It was amazing… both to be able to play really good volleyball and in our home gym,” he continued, “Tons of support from family and friends in the community. So it’s awesome to play for them and to show them some good ball.”

Sonnenberg shared the same sentiment about the Heat fans. “The people who come to these games are actually really invested in the program and it’s really sweet to see, especially on a night like this,” he said after the match. “It’s a really great reminder of the wonderful community, and the atmosphere at UBC Okanagan is fantastic.”

Late in the fourth set with the Heat up 2-1, when it looked that the Heat had the match well in hand with the set score 21-12, the crowd began to chant ‘We Want Grant.’ Coach Hudson didn’t disappoint, and let the senior middle blocker close out the final few points, and his Heat career, on the court.

According to Swiatlowski, that move is completely in character for the first-year head coach. “I will be forever grateful for Brad Hudson,” said the senior outside hitter, “his main point, is raising great men. Men who have good morals.”

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