VANCOUVER – The UBC Thunderbirds closed the weekend with a second consecutive sweep of the Mount Royal University Cougars (25-11, 25-22, 25-22) Saturday evening at War Memorial Gymnasium. With the victory, UBC improves to 2-2, while the Cougars fall to 1-3 on the year.
Danielle Brisebois led UBC with 14 kills while Mikayla Fritzke had six to pace visiting MRU.
“We weren’t quite as solid as Friday night in total,” said UBC head coach Doug Reimer. “At times we were, but in the second and third set we really needed to handle the ball a little better. We had opportunities that we didn’t just put away when Mount Royal started raising their play. “
UBC opened the match by capturing the first three points but MRU replied with three straight of their own, courtesy of a Kylie Willis and two T-Birds attack errors. However, the home side took over by following up with a 10-1 run that was capped off by four Rosie Schlagintweit service aces. MRU coach Sandra Lamb called a timeout after Schlagintweit’s first ace put UBC up 10-4 but the fifth-year player was not fazed and ran off three more coming out of the break. The Cougars fought their way back to trail 16-11 after a kill from Taylor Pelland but the Thunderbirds ran off nine straight points after that to close out the first set.
The second set marked a turnaround for the Cougars as the team put their foot on the gas and ran up the score 6-0, thanks to a Fritzke kill, a Robyn Potolicki ace and four T-Birds errors. UBC was able to sideout and get on the board after a kill from Schlagintweit. The following 10 points won would consist of long and intense rallies with both teams making incredible saves and refusing to let the ball drop on their side of the net. At 10-15, coach Reimer subbed in Julianne Kaufmanis in the hopes of reducing the Cougars lead. MRU sent over a free ball that skimmed the net and allowed for Kaufmanis to jump up and fire a kill right back onto their side of the court. This sparked a turnaround for the ‘Birds, allowing them to close the gap one point at a time. They doubled up on MRU the rest of the way to capture the set 25-22.
The Cougars were determined to extend the match beyond three sets, going on the attack to make it difficult for UBC to pull away. The teams split the first 14 points but UBC made a 4-0 run to create some separation at 11-7. Defensively, the Cougars were much more aggressive on the net, but UBC was able to find the holes in the back court. The Thunderbirds used an 8-3 spurt to reach match point at 24-18. Again, MRU was resilient reeling off the next five points, which included two kills from Fritzke and one from Marni MacKay, to close to 22-24. However, UBC was able to side out and close out the match on the next point.
“By stats, Danielle Brisebois was very efficient offensively and her all around game is coming along,” Reimer said of the player who finished the night with .458 attack percentage.
“I’d also like to mention Juliana Kaufmanis who came in and played well,” he said. “She brought in good serving and passed the ball well. I think she was important for us tonight as well.”
Coach Reimer also believes that the team has “great depth and people who can contribute in a variety of ways. I think that really helped us tonight and we need to do that again.”
Next weekend, the ‘Birds will travel to Kamloops, B.C., to play Thompson Rivers University in a two-game series. Games will be at 6 p.m. Friday and 5 p.m. Saturday night.
Mt. Royal will host the MacEwan Griffins on Kenyon Court next weekend, with games taking place Friday and Saturday night.