'We played well enough': T-Birds beat TRU in hard-fought straight sets

Surrounded by the cheering crowd at War Memorial Gym, the Thunderbirds men's volleyball team completed a doubleheader takedown of the Thompson Rivers (TRU) Wolfpack on Friday, November 10, improving their unbeaten record to 6-0 on the season.

The team played two clean, three-set matches over the weekend, with Friday's set scores of 25-17, 25-17 and 25-23 capping off another successful weekend for the ’Birds.

The T-Birds took control of the court in the first set on Friday. On the other hand, the Wolfpack failed to defend the ’Birds’ aggressive attacks from the back row, aiding in the quick set win for the home side. Collaboratively, the Thunderbirds gathered their strength and gradually increased the Wolfpack’s deficit from 19-17 to 25-17.

UBC also managed to take a 9-point-lead in the second frame, finishing the set with the same wide win margin as the first: 25-17.

Irvan Brar gets the ball over Thompson Rivers front row.
Irvan Brar gets the ball over Thompson Rivers front row. Elizabeth Wang

The Wolfpack challenged the ’Birds’ momentum in the third frame. The teams entered into a point-by-point rally — neither side led the game by more than two points. After a lengthy back-and-forth set, two powerful kills by middle Joel Regehr solidified the win for the ’Birds and stopped the visitors from forcing a fourth set.

“They’ve played their best set of volleyball in the third set, and we also played our worst set of volleyball in the third set — the combination made that set a lot closer. We just made more errors on that set,” said UBC head coach Kerry MacDonald after the game.

Despite the match score, MacDonald said it was not an easy game for the team. “We needed to play well tonight to win this game, and we’re fortunate — we played well enough.”

Together, the T-Birds picked up 38 kills with only 10 errors. Team captain Irvan Brar led the team with 12 kills, followed by veteran Keith West who reached a season-best with eight kills.

Even with such successful individual performances based on the stats, MacDonald said that there were no personal standouts on the team — the teamwork played a more critical role in winning the game.

“All of our guys, especially in the first and second set, we served really well, and it was all six guys serving aggressively. All six guys have the potential to earn points for us, and that's what we need to win at this level,” he said.

The T-Birds will have a few days to practice before journeying to Edmonton to face the Alberta Golden Bears next week on November 17 and 18.