KELOWNA, BC – For all of last season, all the way through to the U SPORTS national championship, UBC Okanagan head coach Steve Manuel would have over half of his lineup on the floor made up from local athletes.
Continuing to develop and retain the best women's volleyball players the Okanagan Valley has to offer Manuel has signed another student athlete from the area as setter Sarah Demers will graduate from Kelowna Secondary to set for her hometown team, the UBC Okanagan Heat.
Demers, a 6' setter from Kelowna currently playing for the Junior Heat Volleyball Club, has had extensive success on the hard court and on the beach as a volleyball player.
On the court for the Owls Demers was a part of the senior AAAA team that captured back-to-back Valley championships the past two years, in 2017 Demers was the co-captain in the KSS squad.
On the beach Demers had been even more successful, in 2016 she was a U16 Gold medal winner at the high school beach open as well as a first place finish at Beachfest in the U16 division.
Last summer on the beach Demers pulled down a silver medal at the U18 high school beach open, a fourth place finish at the U18 beach provincial championship, and a 15th place in the Kits classic pro beach event - they finished as the top amateur finisher.
Steve Manuel has followed Demers development and is pleased at being able to retain the local product.
"Sarah is another great example of our local development model here in the Okanagan. Before joining the Jr Heat 18u squad, Sarah developed under the tutelage of Heat Alumni Tammy Thomas and the T2 Volleyball program. For her school career she had the opportunity to train in Tony Sodaro's program at Kelowna Secondary."
"I believe that Sarah has all the qualities to be a top level setter at the University level and we are very excited that she will be joining our program this upcoming fall. She will add some depth and a physical element to our setting position."
Demers is happy to join the local team.
"I am excited to be a part of the team that I have looked up to all these years and to develop my skills as a varsity setter. The UBCO Heat volleyball program is also one of the best varsity teams in the country and It has been my goal since starting volleyball to play for the Heat and I am proud to have been given the opportunity to join the team."
Planning on studying mechanical engineering with an eye on a potential masters in Aerospace engineering in the future Demers decided on to take advantage of the high level education available at UBC Okanagan.
"I chose UBCO because it is one of the highest ranked universities in Canada. It has a strong mechanical engineering program and I am honored and grateful to have the opportunity to attend."
Demers is the only setter signed as a recruit Stephanie Temme, also from the Junior Heat program, Sydney Grills from the Thunder Volleyball Club in Vancouver, Jade Bussard and Samantha Gagnon from Red Deer all play on the outside and will all suit up with Demers on next year's women's volleyball team as well.
Claudia Corneil, a transfer from Douglas College, will round out the new faces on next year's team.