End of term report: The highs and lows for the Thunderbirds so far

It’s been one hell of a season for a bunch of Thunderbird teams. From comeback wins to huge upsets and big crowds, some teams are riding on a high note into the winter break. Some others need to go back to the drawing board and figure out what needs to change if there is any hope of making the Canada West playoffs in 2020.

Women's Basketball: B+

The Thunderbirds women’s basketball team are halfway into their Canada West season and currently sit in fourth place with a 7–3 overall record. A good result but the T-Birds also lost two consecutive games against University of Calgary Dinos, currently placed second in Canada West. But after winning one of the two games against University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves, they are on a five-game winning streak and seem to have picked up their momentum. If the T-Birds can keep the momentum going, they could pose a challenge to the top-three ranked teams.

The Thunderbirds are in a good place, but still need to up their game to the next level to pose a threat to the top teams in Canada West.
The Thunderbirds are in a good place, but still need to up their game to the next level to pose a threat to the top teams in Canada West. File Salomon Micko Benrimoh

Men's Basketball: B+

The men’s basketball team will head into the new decade with an 8–2 conference record and an 11–5 overall record. It isn’t a bad place to be but the team knows there are still key areas they need to improve their game in. The only Canada West losses the team has this year came back-to-back against the Calgary Dinos. The undefeated Dinos, along with the University of Alberta Golden Bears sit at the peak of Canada West with the Thunderbirds at third. To avoid an early playoff exit, the team will need to be even more dominant than they are now.

Grant Shepard in action against Calgary.
Grant Shepard in action against Calgary. File Salomon Micko Benrimoh

Swimming: A+

The UBC Thunderbirds swim team have time and time again proven themselves to be the best not just in Canada West but in all of U Sports. At this year’s conference championships in Lethbridge, Alberta, the T-Birds showed off their depth by taking both the men’s and women’s Canada West titles without star swimmers Markus Thormeyer and Emily Overholt taking part. The women’s squad have the dominant edge over the men’s team, taking the conference crown by 100 points while the men went to the wire with the University of Calgary Dinos and came out on top by just 5 points.

UBC swimming is dominating... who would have guessed?
UBC swimming is dominating... who would have guessed? File Ryan Neale

Women's Hockey: B+

The UBC women’s hockey team went on a six-game winning streak starting late in October. The run was broken by an overtime loss against Mount Royal on November 22. Since this heartbreaker the women’s team has failed to rally, and their successful month of November has turned sour with their newest record featuring a four-game losing stretch. With that said their most recent series against the University of Alberta, this Friday and Saturday, demonstrates a great deal of improvement to their meeting in the season opener where the T-Birds were outscored 14–1.

The T-Birds are entering the break on a four-game slump and will need to come back strong in January.
The T-Birds are entering the break on a four-game slump and will need to come back strong in January. File Elizabeth Wang

Men's Hockey: C+

The Thunderbirds men’s hockey team needs to figure something out during the winter break. Currently at 4–9–3, the ’Birds are riding a four-game losing streak with back-to-back losses against the University of Alberta Golden Bears and Mount Royal University Cougars. The biggest issue has to be the lack of scoring, with the ’Birds being either shut out or held to a single goal throughout the majority of the season. With injuries to key players, it’s somewhat understandable but the ’Birds will need to adapt if they have any hope of making the Canada West playoffs.

Men's hockey need to go back to the drawing board this winter break.
Men's hockey need to go back to the drawing board this winter break. File Salomon Micko Benrimoh

Women's Volleyball: B

The first half for the UBC women’s volleyball team has been consistently streaky. Three straight wins to begin the season was followed by three straight losses, which was followed by another set of three straight wins then three straight losses. Odds are that this pattern will not happen in the second half, as games against MacEwan and Trinity Western are the only daunting matchups that remain on the schedule. One standout player has been Laura Worsley, who has taken over admirably as the libero for the team. Her steady play so far this season has given her young teammates time to develop, and should pay dividends going forward.

Next term's schedule will be the ultimate test for the Thunderbirds women's volleyball team.
Next term's schedule will be the ultimate test for the Thunderbirds women's volleyball team. File Salomon Micko Benrimoh

Men's Volleyball: A

The UBC Thunderbirds Men’s Volleyball team have taken flight after a slightly rough patch at the start of the season, going undefeated in their last nine games and sweeping aside the University of Alberta in two back-to-back shutout wins. Currently sitting third in the CanWest standings, the T-Birds look to continue their strong forward momentum all the way through the rest of the season and deep into the playoffs. Look for Matt Neaves and Coltyn Liu to provide further offence, with the two ranking 2nd and 10th respectively for total kills in Canada West play.

The squad will hope to keep the momentum going into 2020.
The squad will hope to keep the momentum going into 2020. File Scott Young

A previous version of this article mistakenly displayed of photo of men's hockey instead of the women's team. it has since been corrected.