Kelowna’s Aidan Lea will spend the summer with the national women’s volleyball program. -Image: Greystoke Photography

Lea named to national senior women’s team

UBC Okanagan Heat middle blocker Aidan Lea earns one of 24 spots with Canada’s program

For the second summer in a row, Aidan Lea will wear her country’s colours in women’s volleyball.

The UBC Okanagan Heat middle blocker and Kelowna Secondary School grad was one of 22 players named to the Canadian national senior women’s program, following the team selection camp last week at the Richmond Oval.

Lea, 20, has taken the next step up on the national scale after earning a spot last year on the Senior B team and competing with Canada at the 2017 Summer Univerdsiade in Taiwan.

“It’s an important step for me,” said Lea. “I’m going to get more time this year working with (coach) Marcello (Abbondanza). It’s high level and high quality of intense coaching that will really benefit me.

“It’s also really exciting to be practising and competing with players of such an amazing skill level,” she added. “It brings your own level of play up, so it’s impossible not to get better.”

With the Heat this past season, the 6-foot-5 Lea was named a U SPORTS All-Canadian and a Canada West all-star.

Two of Lea’s Heat teammates, Ann Richards and Michelle Jakszuk, also competed at the selection camp in Richmond.

Former Heat player Breanna Beamish was renamed to the roster and has been a member of the Canadian senior women’s program three years running.

“It’s a testament to the work being done by our student athletes in the Heat program and the support that we receive at the university to be able to run one of the elite programs in Canada,” said UBC Okanagan head coach Steve Manuel.

Among the highlights this season for Lea and Team Canada is the World Qualifier for the 2019 FIVB Nations League in June, the Pan American Cup in July, and a tour of Italy and Turkey from Aug. 17 to Sept. 4.

The national squad’s 22-player also features Kelowna product and former UBC star Marisa Field who is entering her 11th year with the program.

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