UBC opens playoffs at Calgary

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VANCOUVER — For the second time in three weeks, the UBC Thunderbirds women’s volleyball team (13-11) is in Calgary to face the Dinos, but the stakes this weekend are much higher as the two squads face off in a best-of-three Canada West quarter-final round match up.

The fifth-seeded T-Birds and fourth-seeded Dinos will start the series on Friday, February 13 at 6 p.m. PT. Game 2 will follow on Saturday at 5 p.m. If a third-and-deciding game is necessary, it occur on Sunday at 3 p.m. All matches will be played at the Jack Simpson Gymnasium in Calgary.

Two weeks ago, Calgary (14-10) beat UBC 3-1 in both matches of the doubleheader, a result that ultimately gave the Dinos homecourt advantage for this weekend. Fifth-year senior Rosie Schlagintweit (Abbotsford) recorded at least 18 kills in both matches and is part of a dangerous offence that finished second in the Canada West in team hitting percentage (.227). Reigning CIS Player of the Year Lisa Barclay (Brandon, Man.) returned from an early-season injury and played in every match of the 2015 calendar year, averaging 3.92 points a set. Third-year Bolton, Ont., native Danielle Brisebois led the team with 296 points overall.

Abbey Keeping has lead the ‘Birds with a strong defensive presence on the net this season, finishing with 83 total blocks, tying with Calgary middle blocker Jaylynn Moffatt. Fellow Dino Kate Pexman had an excellent rookie season, recording 297 kills, good for fourth overall in the Canada West. Calgary was right behind UBC in team hitting percentage in fourth at .213.

The two teams are also near each in blocking statistics. Calgary is eighth in the Canada West in blocks per set (2.16), UBC is 10th (1.99).

The winner of the series will move on to the Canada West Final Four, hosted by Alberta at the Saville Community Centre next weeken. The top three finishers of that tournament will earn a berth to the 2015 CIS Women’s Volleyball Championship, which will run Feb. 26-March 1 at the University of Toronto in Toronto.