T-Birds drop four-set match at Calgary

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CALGARY – The No. 7 UBC Thunderbirds lost in four sets (25-21, 25-14, 19-25, 26-24) on Saturday night to the No. 10 University of Calgary Dinos, who clinched a playoff spot on their home court at Jack Simpson Gymnasium.

The Dinos finish the regular season with a 14-10 mark while UBC now has a .500 record at 11-11 and currently sit in the final playoff spot with one weekend left of play.

For the Dinos, Ali Woolley scored a team-high 17 kills and recorded seven digs in the win. Three other Dinos hit double digits in kills including Kate Pexman (13), Beth Vinnell (12), and Jaylynn Moffatt (10). In their final games of the regular season, Amber Brown recorded a game-high 15 digs and Jordhynn Guy recorded 42 assists.

The Thunderbirds were led by Rosie Schlagintweit (Abbotsford) who had a game-high 18 kills and team-high 13 digs in the match. Danielle Brisebois (Bolton, Ont.) added 16 kills while libero Juliana Kaufmanis (Richmond) recorded nine digs.

The first two sets of the match were played confidently by the Dinos, with an evenly spread offence. A lack of energy from the Thunderbirds allowed Calgary to take advantage on all aspects of the game.

Up 2-0, the Dinos and Thunderbirds battled it out in the third. The visitors took a one-point lead at the technical timeout, but following that a shift began to set in for the match. With Kelsey Clarke (Delta) subbed in for Alessandra Gentile (Port Moody) at setter, the Thunderbirds settled into a new pace of game and it picked up on both offence and defence, in part thanks to Brisebois. They took the third set 25-19.

The fourth set saw the Thunderbirds take up to an eight point lead at 19-11 with Calgary’s energy and offence lacking once again. The Dinos began to build their comeback with the likes of Woolley, who got the team fired up on the court. An ace from Laura McManes finally tied up the game at 24, the first tie of the match, and it was two massive kills from Woolley that solidified the emotional comeback for the Dinos.

“I was a bit stunned that we didn’t push through to get it to five sets,” said UBC head coach Doug Reimer. “After a very rough start it was good to see us hang in there and start to play better, but lack of passing and ability to finish with a lead was needless to say disappointing and frustrating for the group. I remain confident that we can regroup for when we return home for a huge final weekend.”

The Thunderbirds host the Regina Cougars next weekend in the final two games of the Canada West regular season.