UBC – ‘Birds Drop Season Opener in Winnipeg

WINNIPEG – The Winnipeg Wesmen served up an upset on opening night in the Canada West, earning a four-set win over the visiting UBC Thunderbirds Saturday at the Duckworth Centre.

The Wesmen got 16 kills and a sparkling .500 attack percentage from right side Daniel Thiessen and knocked off UBC 3-1 (29-27, 18-25, 25-18, 25-17), taking down the T-Birds who were ranked fourth in the conference coaches’ poll released earlier this week.

Thiessen also had four aces for the Wesmen, who hit .542 in the clinching fourth set and .346 for the match. Sophomore left side Nigel Nielsen, making just his second career start, added nine kills on 18 swings and middle blocker Keegan Teetaert added five kills on 10 swings with only one error.

Libero Darian Picklyk had a team-high seven digs for Winnipeg.

Coltyn Liu and Matt Neaves each had 16 kills for UBC, which lost despite hitting .398 for the match. It was the first time since Jan. 13, 2017 the Thunderbirds hit over .300 for a match while losing.

Jordan Deshane added nine kills on 12 swings with one error for the Thunderbirds.

“Really from our last pre-season tournament and a couple weeks in I would say we were serving quite well,” said UBC head coach Mike Hawkins. “We’re an aggressive serving team so there’s going to be times where we string a couple misses in a row. Where I thought we faltered was just the mental ability to just reset and take that serve as an independent point and not worry about what happened prior to that serve. That is the only skill we have complete control over and I think we just allowed the negative thoughts to creep into our mind a little too much.”

The ‘Birds will look for the weekend split when they battle the Wesmen again Sunday at 1:45 p.m. PT at the Duckworth Centre.