T-Birds open with sweep of Kamloops visitors

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Jarrid Ireland

VANCOUVER – The UBC Thunderbirds men’s volleyball team opened the non-conference portion of its 2014-15 season with a 3-0 home victory over the Thompson Rivers WolfPack tonight at War Memorial Gymnasium in Vancouver.

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The set scores were 25-14, 25-15 and 25-23 in favour of the home side. Mac McNicol led the way with 13 kills on 17 sets, hitting at a 71 per cent clip. UBC’s three middles combined to hit 65 per cent as a group.

“I thought our guys came out prepared to compete tonight and executed the gameplay we had set out for them,” said UBC assistant coach Matt Lebourdais. “It was nice to see our guys enjoying themselves out there playing.”

Lebourdais was filling in for head coach Richard Schick, who was in his hometown of Brandon, Man., presenting at the ninth annual Volleyball Coaches September Summit.

UBC grabbed control early, winning the first eight points of the match. After earning a sideout on the first point, the T-Birds ran off the next seven on Milan Nikic‘s serve. UBC was able to build on its lead and won the set comfortably.

The Thunderbirds started the second set in a similar fashion as a Jarrid Ireland kill to the back of the court capped off an opening 9-3 run. A long rally ended in UBC’s favour to finish off another 8-3 spurt in the middle of the set put UBC up 19-9.

The third and final set was decidedly different as the two teams battled back and forth, with neither team leading by more than two points. With Thompson Rivers ahead 21-20, UBC won five of the last seven points to earn the three-set sweep.

The T-Birds will open Canada West regular season play on the weekend of Oct. 10-11 in Edmonton against MacEwan University, the newest school to join the conference.

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