WINNIPEG – The UBC Thunderbirds men’s volleyball team (8-1) defeated the Manitoba Bisons three sets to one Friday night in the Manitoba captial. The Thunderbirds delivered a solid performance throughout, faltering only in the third set. Set scores were 25-16, 26-24, 26-28 and 25-20. UBC adds another ‘w’ to its tally marking the sixth straight win.
After a short, dominant 25-16 first set win by the Thunderbirds, Manitoba looked to be right there in the second set. Earning a tie at 24-24 on six set kills by Devren Dear, UBC called a timeout and came out with the Chris Howe Show. First, Howe worked out of the middle for a blast to the floor. On the next point, he got up on the left side for a firm block on Dear to seal the 26-24 win.
In the third, Manitoba stared to mix it up. On Luke Herr’s serve, they established a lead and built it to 21-14, only to see UBC battle back to tie it at 24. Manitoba went on to fight off two match points, with Dear and Kevin Falconer both earning set points before Adam DeJonckheere closed the deal with a left-side spike for the 28-26 win.
Though Dear would make another trio of big plays to start the fourth, getting the Bisons lead up to 8-4, it was UBC again coming back and showing their dominance late in the set. Their variety of attack – back row, outside and middle – got the Bisons on their heels defensively, and ended up with a 25-20 set win and the match.
“We knew we had to stick with it and it was a see-saw battle in the second set,” said UBC head coach Richard Schick. “But coming down the stretch, we made plays. The third was tough. We were playing from behind the whole time, We were down 21-14 but battled back to earn a match point. Manitoba made some plays and stepped up to push it to a fourth set.
“We’re definitely happy with how we battled back from those deficits, we were down 10-4 in the fourth as well. We just picked away and were patient. The guys really came though in the end.”
Offensively, UBC’s Mac McNicol led the team with 19 kills on the evening and 20.5 pts, followed by teammate and Winnipeg native Jarred Ireland with 13 kills and 16.5 pts.
“Jarrid had a great match passing and attacking,” commented Schick. “Coming home and to play like that, he really responded. Mac was consistent for us. Milan (Nikic) had a good night distributing the ball. Everybody was clicking, it was good. We’ll have to get better tomorrow, though. We left a lot out there tonight.”
The Bisons were led by Dear and DeJonckheere tying with both 15 kills respectively.
UBC sits at 8-1 on the season and will look to extend its six-game winning streak against the Bisons again tomorrow evening at 5 p.m. PT at Investors Group Athletic Centre in Winnipeg. Games can be viewed via live webcast at canadawest.tv.