Saskatoon, SK – The UBC Thunderbirds men’s volleyball team lost a five-set match to the University of Saskatchewan Huskies on Friday night in Saskatoon. Set scores were 25-21, 20-25, 17-25, 35-33, and 15-9 in favour of the Huskies
The Thunderbirds led two sets to one in the fourth set, but could not capitalize on five match point opportunities. The Huskies would win the marathon of a set 35-33 on their fifth set point. Saskatchewan carried their momentum into the fifth and final set, beginning the set with an 8-1 run. The Thunderbirds fought back to 10-6, but could not climb any closer, ultimately losing 15-9.
Rookie setter Byron Keturakis got his first start at the CIS level on Friday night. He tallied 23 assists on the evening.
Milan Nikic replaced Keturakis midway through the second set, and the Thunderbirds seemed to rally behind their fourth-year setter.
After trailing 16-15 at the technical timeout of the second set, the Thunderbirds utilized a six-point serving run by Milan Nikic to lead 21-16; Nikic had two aces during the run. Left-side Quentin Schmidt completed the set with an impressive kill overtop of the block and to the deep corner, giving the Thunderbirds a 25-20 second set victory.
The Thunderbirds continued their dominant play in the third set, beginning with a 7-0 run to start the set, and leading 16-9 at the technical timeout. UBC ultimately would take the set 25-17, giving them a two sets to one lead in the match. With Nikic on the floor, UBC outscored the Huskies 38-24 through the end of the third set.
Schmidt, in his fifth and final year with UBC, has seen limited action this season after spending two seasons in a prominent starting role with the Thunderbirds. The Calgary native replaced Jarrid Ireland on the left-side following the first set, and tallied eight kills on the evening, attacking intelligently and efficiently.
With the loss UBC drops to a regular season record of 9-6, while Saskatchewan improves to 8-5. The loss marks the Thunderbirds second in a row, and five of their last six.
UBC will look to rebound in a Saturday night rematch, in the last game before the teams break for the holidays. Saturday’s game begins at 6:00 pm PT at the University of Saskatchewan, and can be streamed live via canadawest.tv.