WINNIPEG – The UBC Thunderbirds (2-0) completed the season opening weekend sweep of the host Winnipeg Wesmen (0-2) with a straight sets victory Sunday afternoon at the Duckworth Centre.
The ‘Birds powered their way to the victory (25-23, 25-21, 25-15) through a balanced attack on .228 hitting while racking up eight service aces.
“We had a big focus on our serve pass game and I think we served very well,” said UBC assistant coach Jodi Zbyszewski. “Winnipeg’s a good team, especially when they’re in system, and we knew if we could serve tough and try to keep them out of system we’d have some success.”
Fifth-year Thunderbird Anna Price led the defending national champions with a match-high nine kills and 11 digs. Gabrielle Attieh had eight kills and a team-leading 9.5 points while Courtenay Hillier led the way with four service aces. Second-year setter Kayla Oxland finished with 32 assists and five digs.
After taking a two sets to none lead by a fairly tight margin, the ‘Birds closed out the Wesmen with a dominant third, limiting Winnipeg to just .043 hitting. The hosts finished the match with a .083 attack percentage.
“I’m really proud of the girls,” added a pleased Zbyszewski. “They came, they battled. It’s been a bit of a changeover from last year and I think that they stepped up and showed a little bit of our identity and who we want to be so it’s a really good weekend to walk away from.”
The weekend sweep extends UBC’s winning streak to ten straight matches over the Wesmen dating back to the fall of 2014.
Next up for the T-Birds is a trip to Saskatoon to face the Saskatchewan Huskies Friday and Saturday, October 25th and 26th.
UBC will be on home court for the first time this regular season November 1st and 2nd when they host the Mount Royal Cougars while also raising their 2019 U SPORTS national championship banner in front of the War Memorial Gym faithful.