VANCOUVER – The UBC Thunderbirds defeated the Mount Royal Cougars 3-1 (28-26, 25-13, 20-25, 25-22 ) on Alumni Night to sweep their home opening weekend at War Memorial Gym and improve to 3-3 on the season.
“Whichever team dictated from the service line was going to have success,” said UBC head coach Mike Hawkins after the four-set victory. “I thought in the second set we just jumped all over them.”
The opening set was a hard-hitting, back-and-forth affair as UBC fourth-year middle Jordan Deshane lead the way with three kills and Coltyn Liu recorded two kills to go along with three service aces. For the Cougars, it was the effort of second year middle Jace Martin who led his team with four kills, but the ‘Birds were able to get the better of the visitors and took the tight first set 28-26.
The second set was a different story, as the ‘Birds came flying out of the gate and built a big lead early. With the ‘Birds up 22-13, Mount Royals’ bench was given a red card, giving the home team a free point. It was a lead the ‘Birds would not relinquish as they cruised to a second set victory – 25-13.
Mount Royal managed a mini run midway through the third set, but the ‘Birds were not to be outdone. With the Cougars up 15-11, UBC mounted a comeback to tie the game up at 15. The Cougars came out of the technical timeout firing en route to a 25-20 win.
The fourth set saw more of the same with neither team wanting to give an inch. The teams exchanged leads multiple times, but it was UBC who held a 20-18 advantage when Mount Royal decided to burn one of their timeouts. The T-Birds would not give up their lead and took the final set 25-22.
Second year outside hitter Michael Dowhaniuk recorded a team-high 15 kills to go along with three aces for the ‘Birds, while rookie outside hitter Chris Byam led the Cougars with 10 kills in the loss.
UBC heads into a bye week before hosting Calgary on November 15th and 16th.
“I think the bye is a very good opportunity for us to be self-reflective and understand what we need to work on and we can do that without feeling like we need to prepare for an opponent,” Hawkins said.
As for Mount Royal, they head to the interior to visit the UBC Okanagan Heat next weekend.