Vancouver, BC – Fresh off a three-game international friendly series versus Sungkyunkwan University, the No. 6 UBC Thunderbirds men’s volleyball returns to Canada West regular season action in Brandon this weekend with a two-game series against the Bobcats.
The Thunderbirds currently sit in fifth in the Canada West standings with a record of 10-6, while the No. 5 Bobcats, who knocked UBC out of the playoffs last year, are tied for second at 12-4 with Trinity Western and Winnipeg.
UBC has just eight games remaining in the regular season and with just seven teams making the post season every point down the stretch will be crucial. The Thunderbirds still face the Bobcats, Trinity Western, Calgary (6-12) and Regina (1-15).
The last time these two teams faced each other was nearly a year ago in the 2014 Canada West quarter-finals. The Bobcats defeated the Thunderbirds in a pair of five-set thrillers to advance to the Canada West Final Four.
That weekend Sebastien Steinmeier was a thorn in the Thunderbirds side. He registered 27 and 18 kills respectively in the two games to lead Brandon to victory. He is having a solid year again and will no doubt be a focus of UBC’s attention. So far this season he has reached double digits in kills in 14 of 16 regular season games.
However, UBC can’t forget about former All-Canadian Sam Tuivai. The New Zealand product has 10 or more kills in 12 of his 16 games this season.
The Bobcats are coming off a weekend split against Saskatchewan last weekend.
UBC, meanwhile, are ready for their first Canada West action since splitting with the same Saskatchewan Huskies the final weekend of November. The Thunderbirds had a bye last weekend, but did host Sungkyunkwan University (South Korea) in a three-match series, winning two of the three games. The Thunderbirds are looking to get back to the form that saw them start the season 8-1, as opposed to the following seven game stretch in which they went 2-5 before the holiday break.
Ben Chow looks to be back to form after missing eight of the last 10 regular season games with a knee injury. Prior to getting hurt, he registered 10 or more kills in all six matches. Mac McNicol and Irvan Brar will share the load offensively. They have emerged as prime time players this season for head coach Richard Schick. McNicol is seventh in the conference in kills (214), while Brar is 11th (197).
Both games can be seen live on canadawest.tv. First serve Friday night is 5:45 pm PST and 4:45 pm PST Saturday night.