With final essays and exams all on the books, crunch time for most students begins in April. For the UBC women’s volleyball team, though, it starts now.
With only 10 games remaining in the regular season, the ’Birds (8-6) sit in fourth place in the Canada West standings — enough to give them home advantage for the opening round of playoffs if they stay where they are. But with hungry teams like the MacEwan Griffins (7-5) right on their tails, the Thunderbirds should be looking to move up the standings and solidify that home court advantage (which goes to the top four teams in the league going into post-season).
What do they have coming up in terms of match ups?
The final stretch of regular season games until mid-February will be no easy task as they have weekend series scheduled against the top two teams in the conference: Trinity Western (14-0) and Calgary (12-2). Trinity in particular is riding a 14-game win streak right now and looks like it will continue its domination of the West. Both will be a test for the Thunderbirds, who struggled to find their footing in the league early on, but seem to be settling in to their game now.
If history is any indicator, the T-Birds have a good chance of clinching a playoff spot at the rate they’re going — or at least, when considering how many games are left. The ’Birds have only lost more than seven games in the Canada West conference one time in the last eight years. We hope that history in on their side and they stay the winning course.
UBC have also won five of their last six games — another, and we say this hesitantly, good sign. One key to their game? They’ve found serious success whenever they get the ball to outside hitter Kiera Van Ryk. The second year’s innate ability to put up points has allowed her to rack up a Canada West leading 248 kills this season — more than double anyone else on the ’Birds roster.
UBC definitely has the talent to push the elite teams in their conference and have shown moments of brilliance, but the cohesive ability to finish out sets was challenged by Mount Royal in the opening game of the year this past weekend (3-0). The resilience shown by the team the following game (a 3-1 win) does show that the current roster has the fighting spirit — something that has continually been shown under the direction of head coach Doug Reimer.
This weekend, the ’Birds will take on MacEwan who sit directly below them in the table. Game times are 6 p.m. Friday, January 11 and 5 p.m. Saturday, January 12 at War Memorial.
Scoops and Digs is the ongoing volleyball column, co-authored by Photo Editor Elizabeth Wang and sports writer Scott Young. Wang will share insights into the men’s volleyball team, while Young discusses the women’s volleyball program on a rotating basis throughout both teams’ seasons.