VANCOUVER — The UBC Thunderbirds beat the University of Regina Cougars in straight sets, completing a perfect weekend for the team. This was the last match of Canada West men’s volleyball regular season play for both squads, and the win boosted UBC to a record of 13-11, while Regina fell to 2-22. Set scores were 25-21, 25-15 and 25-18.
UBC’s Ben Chow and Regina’s Noah Mills led their respective teams with 11 kills.
The two teams were evenly matched throughout most of the first set. Kills by Miller provided the bookends on a 6-2 run that gave the Cougars a 12-11 lead but the T-Birds replied with four straight points to re-take the lead, which held until the set’s conclusion.
The Thunderbirds sailed through the second, beating their guests handily by 10 points. They jumped out to an early 8-3 advantage, setting the tone for the rest of the set. An 8-2 surge in the middle of the set pushed the score to 17-7. Fifth-year senior Quentin Schmidt capped off the set with a kill, one of seven on the night for the Calgary native.
However, in the third, Regina jumped out to a 12-8 lead but the hosts regained the momentum by claiming 11 of the next 13 points.
“This game was all about defence,” says UBC head coach Richard Schick. “Our blocking really came through for us this evening.”
Team blocks were 9.5-4.5 in favour of Schick’s team. Also on defence, Chow and fifth-year senior libero Ian Perry contributed eight digs each. Abbotsford, B.C., native Perry finshed the season with 187 digs, bringing his regular season career total to 941, the second-most in Canada West history. He trails only former T-Bird star Blair Bann, who had 1,018.
Regina’s Michael Corrigan recorded a team-high 17 assists and six digs.
UBC clinched a Canada West playoff spot with last night’s triumph but their final position in the league standings is to be determined. The T-Birds can finish anywhere from fourth to sixth, depending on Sunday’s match between Manitoba and MacEwan in Edmonton. Four teams, UBC, Winnipeg, Manitoba and Thompson Rivers, could finish with identical 13-11 records.
Should Manitoba win on Sunday, they will host the Thunderbirds in Winnipeg next weekend for the first round of the playoffs. UBC will host Winnipeg if MacEwan pulls off the upset on Sunday.
When asked what the key ingredient for playoff success will be, Schick maintained that attitude will count for a lot in the post-season play.
“We cannot be apprehensive out there, we’ve got to be aggressive,” says Schick. “When the team has felt apprehensive rather than confident, that’s when we’ve gotten into trouble this year.”
Saturday’s game marks the last regular season appearances for graduating players Perry, Schmidt, and Chris Howe, who finished his last Canada West regular season game with four kills and four block assists.