T-Birds host top-10 women’s volleyball battle


VANCOUVER – Coming off a split series at Manitoba, the No. 6-ranked UBC Thunderbirds are at home again to take on the No. 1 Alberta Pandas at War Memorial Gymnasium this weekend.  
In a rematch of last year’s CIS national final, the Thunderbirds dropped Friday’s contest against Manitoba in five sets, falling 19-17 in the fifth. Alissa Coulter and Rosie Schlagintweit both picked up 13 kills. The pair led UBC to a 3-1 victory on Saturday, as the team held at least a three-point cushion at the end of each set won by the ‘Birds. Coulter impressed again with 17 kills, while Schlagintweit finished with 14.

The Pandas have a few gems of their own who have helped them maintain their spot atop the Canada West league standings.  With both Kacey Otto and Josephine Doerfler, the Pandas boast two players who hold a service ace percentage that is in the top three in the league.  Outside hitter Meg Casault is currently leading Alberta with 126 kills on the season so the T-Birds will need to be ready to defend at the net.

This is not the first time that the ‘Birds and Pandas have met on the court this year.  During preseason play at the Griffin-Panda Classic, co-hosted by Alberta and MacEwan in Edmonton, UBC concluded its visit with a thrilling five-set victory over the Pandas (21-25, 25-23, 25-19, 21-25, 15-12) on Sept. 20. The team showed resilience through a hard-fought win. The rematch came on Oct. 4 during the West Coast Classic at UBC’s War Memorial Gym, where Alberta won in straight sets (25-16, 25-14, 25-20).   
UBC now sits at 6-4 on the season, in a three-way tie for third in the Canada West league standings. Alberta (8-2) is alone in first place and has won its three games.
This weekend’s games are scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday and 5 p.m. Saturday at War Memorial Gymnasium.