EDMONTON – The No. 7 ranked UBC Thunderbirds completed a massive road sweep over the No. 5 ranked Alberta Golden Bears with a 3-0 win (25-23, 25-20, 25-22), Saturday night at Saville Community Sports Centre.
With the sweep, UBC heads into the winter semester break the winners of eight straight conference games, and leapfrog Alberta with a 9-3 record. The Bears, who entered the weekend winners of five straight, finish the first half with an 8-4 record, and suffered its first two-match sweep at the hands of the Thunderbirds since Nov. 26-27, 1993.
Coltyn Liu lead UBC with 11 kills, who were actually out-killed 35-33 by Alberta. However, the Bears committed two more attack errors while losing the ace battle 9-0. Liu also scored a match-high six aces.
Jackson Kennedy led Alberta with 18 kills, while setter Max Elgert added a match-high 27 assists.
Alberta’s sloppy attack was evident in the opening set, as they committed 10 errors on 35 attacks. UBC led by as many as seven (21-14), holding on for a 25-23 first set win.
The Bears and Thunderbirds competed in a thrilling second set, with each side exchanging kills and points throughout. UBC led for a majority, and were able to secure a 25-20 win. The visitors built up a 19-13 advantage but Alberta closed the gap to just 20-19, but Liu knocked two kills in a row to force a timeout by the Bears. He then closed out the set with a pair of service aces.
Looking for a second win this season after trailing 2-0, Alberta was unable to gain any traction or momentum early in the third. The Bears were unable to gain a lead of more than one.
The two sides also played an incredibly clean third set, combining for just three attack errors. Like they had in the opening two sets, UBC was able to pull away late, taking the match with a 25-23 third set win.
UBC will look to add to their win streak in the new year, as they travel back to Edmonton for a weekend series against the MacEwan Griffins. Alberta will resume conference play on January 10-11, as they visit the Brandon Bobcats.