Thunderbirds downed by visiting Spartans


VANCOUVER – The weekend series between the No. 7 UBC Thunderbirds and the No. 3 Trinity Western Spartans culminated in a decisive 3-0 victory by the visitors on Saturday evening, giving Trinity Western the weekend sweep. Set scores in Saturday’s match were 27-25, 25-20, 25-17.

Fourth-year left-side Ben Chow (Surrey) led the Thunderbirds with nine kills on the evening, while Spartan left-side Nicholas Del Bianco led all players with 14, giving him an even 30 kills through the weekend’s seven sets.

“We make it tough on ourselves when we don’t pass well, especially against a team as disciplined blocking as [Trinity],” said Chow. “It’s hard to score when we’re forced to hit high balls, and then we weren’t making smart decisions with those high balls.”

Despite UBC’s passing woes, middle Alex Russell (Surrey) managed to rack up his seven kills in the first two sets. Fellow middle Chris Howe (Salt Spring Island, B.C.) was in on six of UBC’s nine blocks through two sets of play before being replaced by rookie Joel Regehr (Courtenay, B.C).

“[Tonight] we broke down on defence and passing,” said fifth-year libero Ian Perry (Abbotsford). “That’s a team that you have to play well against if you want to beat them.”

Perry has been a key component of the Thunderbirds in his five years of service. Playing largely in the libero position, but also spending time as a setter, Perry has amassed 923 digs, placing him in second in the Canada West history books.

With the loss the Thunderbirds drop to 10-10, marking the first time since the 2011-2012 Canada West season that UBC has lost 10 regular season games. They now hold sole possession of the seventh and final playoff position in Canada West standings with just two weeks remaining in the regular season.

“We’re fighting for a [playoff] spot right now,” said Chow. “All we can do is focus on the next game.”

UBC will travel to Calgary to face the eight-place Dinos next weekend before returning home to take on the 1-19 University of Regina Cougars.

TWU will host the University of Saskatchewan Huskies at the Langley Events Centre.