Heading into this weekend’s matchup, the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack women’s volleyball team was riding high.
Sporting a 7–1 record, the team was ranked nationally for the first time in their history and was looking to continue building momentum for a potential U Sports championship run.
Then they were struck by lightning at War Memorial Gymnasium on Friday night.
Caught off guard by the raucous atmosphere from the Thunderbird faithful, the WolfPack could not get into a sustained rhythm in the hostile environment. This left the door open for the UBC women’s volleyball team to set the tone, and they were able to keep a solid beat throughout the game.
“I was really pleased with how we came out,” said UBC head coach Doug Reimer after the game. “[Thompson Rivers had] only lost one match so far this year [and] they have some very experienced players.
“The way we won those close, tight sets [in the] first and second was really good.”
The first two sets of the games were definitely tight battles, which was expected considering the talent on both teams. But UBC was able to pull away towards the end of both sets, riding the electric energy from the crowd, winning them 25–23 and 25–21.
In the third set, however, the WolfPack showed why they should be considered a threat for the Canada West crown. The WolfPack overwhelmed UBC early on, getting out to a 7–0 lead, and never looked back en route to an emphatic 25–10 set win.
Yet just when it seemed as though the WolfPack were poised to make a comeback, UBC regained composure and the home crowd started to play a factor once again.
Although down 0–3 to begin the fourth set, the T-Birds did not go away this time. A kill by outside hitter Cara Kovacs tied the set at 8–8. After an attack error from the WolfPack, another kill — this time from middle Gabrielle Attieh — caused an uproar inside War Memorial as fans began to realize their team was seizing control.