Vancouver, BC – The UBC Thunderbirds men’s volleyball team will play host to the Mount Royal University Cougars in its regular season home opener this weekend at War Memorial Gymnasium. Game time is 8:00 pm on both Friday and Saturday night.
UBC opened up the regular season with a pair of victories over Canada West newcomers MacEwan University. Last Friday they defeated the Griffins 3-1 and then on Saturday won in straight sets 3-0.
Second Team All-Canadian setter Milan Nikic is off to an impressive start to the season, leading the league in assists per set with 11.43.
“We are striving for overall consistency this year and the big thing is executing what we want to do which starts with Milan,” said UBC head coach Richard Schick. “Last season there were a number of close matches that did not go in our favour, however, if we can hone in on improving parts of our games, especially on the defensive side with our blocking, then the odds are we will come out on top in those tight games.”
After the opening weekend just UBC, Brandon, and Alberta remain undefeated at 2-0.
While the likes of First Team All-Canadian Ben Chow has picked up where he left off last year, the opening two games showed the depth of the Thunderbirds roster with the emergence of Mac McNicol and Irvan Brar as primetime players.
“Irvan trained hard this off season, playing on the provincial time, and showing he really wants to be in the starting line up,” said Schick. “Both Irvan and Mat Guidi have taken a big step forward, which is impressive to see from our second year kids. They are still learning and benefiting from the help and experience of our veteran group, but credit to them for all their hard work.”
Mount Royal lost both games on the opening weekend to Brandon, falling 3-1 and 3-0. Last year, the Cougars finished with a record of 10-12 and were on the outside looking in when it came to the playoff picture.
UBC defeated MRU in straight sets in both of their match-ups last season.
The action all gets going at 8:00 pm at War Memorial Gym both Friday and Saturday night and will be webcast live at canadawest.tv.