The University of British Columbia

AWARDS: Heat duo named to All-Rookie team

AWARDS: Heat duo named to All-Rookie team

Kelowna, B.C. - Jade Bussard, out of the Central Alberta Queens Volleyball Club, joins Sydney Grills, from the Thunder Volleyball Club, as the two first year Heat players named to the Canada West women's volleyball All-Rookie team announced Tuesday.

This is the first time the Heat women have landed more than one player on the conference's All-Rookie team and the third and fourth to make the All-Rookie team since 2013-14, the first year the CW started giving out a full team and not just a singular rookie of the year.  

Sydney Grills, an outside hitter from Vancouver, led all first year players in Canada West with 226 kills, a total that also served as a school record for a first year player on a UBCO team in U SPORTS competition. The 226 kills was also the second in Canada for a rookie.

Playing and starting in all 24 of the Heat matches, Grills was featured in 88 sets, giving her 2.57 kills per set rate, which was 17th in the conference among all players. The 255.5 points scored which was third on the women's team this year. Grills finished the year strong, notching her career-high of 22 kills on the last day of the season in a four-setter versus Thompson Rivers

On the left side for the Heat, from Red Deer, Alberta, Jade Bussard made her mark with the team finishing with 138 kills, fourth on the team and 40th in the conference. Playing solid defence as well as being a potent scorer, Bussard finished with 174 digs, or 2.15 per set, the most on the Heat team for the year. Bussard's career-high in kills was 13, which she did four times, and twice Bussard finished with 17 digs on the night to set her mark in that category.

The future is bright for this UBCO women's program as they reload for another extended run at the top of the Canada volleyball rankings, as two-time U SPORTS coach of the year, Steve Manuel, has quickly developed to potent young guns who have performed at a high level in their first year.

"Sydney has a big arm and can score from everywhere on the court, while Jade is extremely athletic with a big jump and a variety of shots. Between the two of them, they carried a much bigger load than is expected of most first year student athletes in Canada West, but they are competitors and handled the pressure very well," said Manuel.

"We knew that Sydney and Jade would both be impact players on our team, but they have sure surpassed expectations in their first year of play. I am excited to watch their continued development over the next few years."  

The Heat women's volleyball program has only had two players make the Canada West All-Rookie team prior to 2018-19, they did it one in 2014 with Michelle Jakszuk and then again in 2017 as Sara McCreary earned a nod.

Emily Oxland in 2013, made the U SPORTS (then CIS) national All-Rookie team and was a CW All-Star, but at the time CW was only issuing a Rookie of the Year so she ended up a national All-Rookie player with no conference team to back her. 

Oxland and Jakszuk went on to have outstanding careers at UBCO with Jakszuk earning a CW All-Star last year in her final season. Starting setter Sara McCreary, the other All-Rookie team member, was hit with an injury just prior to the start of this season was a large reason for the Heat's off year in wins in 2018-19. 

List of Canada West All-Rookies for UBC Okanagan:

2018/19: Hafith Moallin (MBB), Cam Vanderveen (MVB), Jade Bussard (WVB), Sydney Grills (WVB)
2017/18: Sam McDonald (MSOC), Caleb Funk (MVB)
2016/17: Kyle Hinchey (MVB), Sara McCreary (WVB)
2015/16: Eli Risso (MVB), Devon Cote (MVB)
2014/15: Aldrich Berrios (MBB)
2013/14: Lars Bornemann (MVB), Michelle Jackszuk (WVB)

Canada West Universities Athletic Association has been giving out All-Rookie teams since the 2013/14 season. Soccer started giving out All-Rookie teams in the fall of 2017.

The conference's major award winners will be unveiled Tuesday, March 5, ahead of next weekend's CW Championship Game.



  • OH / Hilary Howe / Trinity Western / 3 / Calgary, Alta.
  • OH / Kate Pexman / Calgary / 4 / Calgary, Alta.
  • OH / Olga Savenchuk / Thompson Rivers / 1 / Donetsk, Ukraine
  • S / Satomi Togawa / Regina / 3 / Uji, Japan
  • OH / Kiera Van Ryk / UBC / 2 / Surrey, B.C.
  • M / Beth Vinnell / Calgary / 4 / Cochrane, Alta.
  • OH / Kory White / Alberta / 3 / Edmonton, Alta.



  • L / Cassie Bujan / Manitoba / 5 / Anola, Man.
  • S / Olivia Furlan / UBC / 3 / Calgary, Alta.
  • S / Brie King / Trinity Western / 4 / Langley, B.C.
  • OH / Nikki Majewski / Brandon / 5 / Winnipeg, Man.
  • M / Mikaelyn Sych / Trinity Western / 4 / Airdrie, Alta.
  • OH / Hannah Tanasichuk / Calgary / 3 / Calgary, Alta.
  • S / Mariah Walsh / Alberta / 5 / Calgary, Alta.



  • OH / Jade Bussard / UBCO / Red Deer, Alta.
  • M / Mandi Fraser / Saskatchewan / Saskatoon, Sask.
  • OH / Sydney Grills / UBCO / Vancouver, B.C.
  • M / Hayley McNaught / Thompson Rivers / Woking, Alta.
  • S / Kayla Oxland / UBC / Vancouver, B.C.
  • OH / Savannah Purdy / Trinity Western / Victoria, B.C.
  • M / Nyadholi Thokbuom / Mount Royal / Calgary, Alta.

Full Canada West release here: