After shaking off some rust from the winter break last weekend, the Canada West second-ranked Thunderbirds showed their strength again over the weekend with two decisive wins against the Winnipeg Wesmen at Duckworth Centre.
Although Saturday initially started off a bit shakey, true to form the Thunderbirds upped the ante and overwhelmingly suppressed their opponent with a 3-0 straight set win.
The T-Birds started off the game with a handful of errors in both serving and blocking, but they quickly turned it around and broke the tie at 6-6 with a kill from middle Joel Regehr. UBC then showed their front-row attacking skills, dominating the court by scoring seven points in a row.
Together they put up 14 out of their 33 kills that night in the first set — enough for them to maintain a five-point lead until the end of the frame. Though the Wesmen tried to take back their home court, they failed to break UBC’s defensive wall and dropped the first set 25-20.
The teams played a back-and-forth game in the second set — neither side was able to take more than a two-point lead at the beginning of the frame. UBC rookie Fynn McCarthy broke the tie with a kill and two service aces, successfully swaying the score up to 8-6 in UBC’s favour.
The T-Birds didn’t hold the advantage for long. Winnipeg came back firmly in the middle of the set, helped by a series of attack errors by the ’Birds which reset the score to 15-13 in favour of UBC. Both sides continued trading points later in the set, until the T-Birds took over with a stabler attacking line and finished the frame ahead 25-22.
The third set was again in favour of the Thunderbirds as they gained control of the court and set the tone with a quick 15-9 lead. UBC then took advantage of errors made by Winnipeg, mercilessly widening the gap to 22-14. They carried that lead to the end of the frame, ending the set and match with a Coltyn Liu kill at 25-21.
First-year middle McCarthy had a game-high eight kills and five aces on Saturday, followed by Irvan Brar with six kills and Keith West with five kills and three aces.
Coming home with an increased winning streak and an overall record 14-2, UBC continue to be one of the best in the West. On the other hand, the Winnipeg Wesmen’s record falls to 10-6, extending their losing streak to five games.
The T-Birds will now take a break from the conference games and come back on January 26 to face the Brandon Bobcats at War Memorial Gym.