‘Birds Earn A Weekend Split with Canada West Leading Spartans – University of
VANCOUVER – Even in defeat, the UBC Thunderbirds made an emphatic statement that they are a team to be reckoned with in Canada West Men’s Volleyball. One day removed from a 3-0 straight sets home victory against the top-ranked Trinity Western Spartans, the UBC Thunderbirds (7-5) held a 2-0 set lead Saturday before ultimately falling 3-2 in Saturday’s rematch. Matt Neaves led UBC with 25 points while Brodie Hofer responded with 22.5 points for the Spartans (9-1).
Mike Hawkins crew flew out of the gates Saturday with a 25-18 decision in Set 1. It was a tidy effort for the blue and gold who had a stretch of six consecutive points which moved the score from 16-13 to 21-13. Conaire Taub had two aces and a kill during that run. A service error from Brodie Hofer cemented the first set win for UBC.
With Trinity Western leading 8-5 in the second set, the ‘Birds responded with four unanswered points to take the lead. Two of those four points came off Matt Neaves’ back-to-back aces. Mason Greves, Matt Neaves and Michael Dowhaniuk then supplied a succession of kills to move UBC’s lead to 15-11. The Spartans clawed their way to 24-21 before a Matt Neaves kill vaulted UBC ahead 2-0.
The Spartans snagged some massive momentum early in the third set when they recorded nine consecutive points which moved the set from 1-1 to 10-1 in their favour. Six of those nine points came from service aces from Brodie Hofer. UBC was never really able to find their footing in Set 3, and dropped the set 25-12.
The fourth set was much closer as Trinity edged UBC 25-22. The teams seldom were beyond two points of each other until the later portion of the set, when Trinity Western went on a four-point run to go from an 18-17 lead to a 22-17 cushion. The ‘Birds lost Matt Neaves to an injury in Set 4, and despite a valiant four-point run of their own later in the set, a Michael Dowhaniuk service error ensured that a fifth set would be required.
Even without their star, the ‘Birds showcased strong depth and were tied 7-7 with the Spartans mid-way through the final set. But the top-ranked Spartans bagged the final five points of the match, and cemented their victory with a Harry Rempel ace.
With their record now sitting a 7-5, the UBC Thunderbirds will now make full use of their bye week, followed by the holiday break. They’ll return to action at home on Friday, January 6th against the University of Saskatchewan Huskies.
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