UBC wins in straight sets to split weekend series with MRU

Ben Chow

Vancouver, BC – The UBC men’s volleyball team delivered a convincing win against the Mount Royal University Cougars Saturday night, bouncing back from a tight loss against the Cougars on Friday. The T-Birds swept all three sets with scores of 32-30, 25-10 and 25-18 respectively.
The Thunderbirds were eager to prove themselves after last night’s nail biter, but the incredibly tight match-up seemed sure to repeat itself as the teams traded points the enitre first set. UBC went to set point a total of 8 times before finally managing to bury MRU on a Mac McNicol kill to take the set 32-30 and get the match started off on the right foot.  
Things took a dramatic turn for the better for the T-Birds in the second set. Riding the momentum they had created in the first set, UBC took control early on jumping out to a 16-4 lead, dominating the Cougars for a 25-10 set victory to go ahead 2-0.
Looking more confident than ever, the Thunderbirds maintained control of the third set from the first moments, creating an impressive offence and looking solid defensively as well. Another convincing set win brought them to 25-18 to seal the deal.
When asked what the key ingredient to UBC’s success this evening was, UBC head coach Richard Schick couldn’t choose just one, pointing out numerous positives for his team this evening.

“I think we played more aggressively tonight,” he said, “and as a result we were able to match MRU’s aggression from yesterday.”

Schick was also quick to point out the improvement from his team with regards to passing: “Our passers and our setters were on tonight, and as a result we ran a much better offence.” Schick pointed to veteran setter Milan Nikic‘s stellar performance as a cornerstone for the T-Birds’ offensive output. UBC had 49 kills to MRU’s 25 and Nikic finished the game with 30 assists.
Schick also had high praise for fourth-year player Ben Chow, who led the team in kills with 13 on the evening. “He proved what kind of a leader he can be when it matters most.” 
Last but not least, the coach was quick to point out that it was not just the more more experienced leaders on the team who dug deep, but some of the younger players as well. “When you have a guy like Byron Keturakis go in and do as well has he did, that’s really impressive.” Keturakis is a first year Applied Science student at UBC and is one of the team’s first-year players this season.

Tyler Schmidt led the Cougars with seven kills on the night, while Jordan Parkin finished with six kills.
With this result, UBC (3-1) are now in a three-way tie with University of Manitoba and the University of Calgary for second in the conference with 6 points. 
The T-Birds will be heading on an interior road trip for a doubleheader against Thompson Rivers University (0-4) in Kamloops next weekend. Their Friday game will start at 7:45 pm followed by a 6:45 p.m. start on Saturday. A live stream of both games will be available at canadawest.tv.