Calgary, AB – The UBC Thunderbirds rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Calgary Dinos 3-2 (27-29, 16-25, 25-18, 25-23, 15-13) Friday night in Calgary. With the victory, UBC takes a 1-0 series lead in the best of three Canada West quarter-finals. 

In the race to 15 in the fifth and deciding set, the T-Birds had a three point cushion over the Dinos leading 11-8.  Calgary then used their timeout which resulted in a moment drive for the Dinos as they were able to tie things up with UBC at 13 apiece.  In spite of a rowdy crowd that was clearly in favor of Calgary, UBC was able to side-out and regain possession.  The Thunderbirds would win the next two points to seal the match with a 15-13 victory. 

“A lot of credit goes to our players who came off the bench tonight and made significant contributions,” said UBC head coach Doug Reimer. “It was very encouraging to see at key times our team raise the bar when we needed to. We made the necessary adjustments after letting the first set slip away and failing to respond in the second set.”

UBC’s outside hitter Rosie Schlagintweit commented on UBC’s sudden turning point after dropping the first two sets. “We really just had to realize that this could be the end for us tonight, so we all had to dig deep and fight hard.” 

The third set of the evening marked UBC’s big comeback. The T-Birds opened up a commanding seven point lead over the Dinos at 13-6. In spite of dropping the first two sets, the T-Birds turned it around from first serve and slammed their foot on the gas. UBC would maintain their lead the entire way. And in typical Thunderbirds fashion, Schlagintweit would kill the ball across the court for UBC’s first set win of the night at 25-18.  

The momentum continued into the fourth set for UBC as Calgary was unable to pull away from the T-Birds.  Both teams traded points all the way up to 14-14 when UBC’s Danielle Brisebois finished off a kill to allow for UBC to make a 3-0 point run.  Although Calgary would finally close the gap and tie things up 22-22, UBC refused to give them the lead and took the set 25-23. 

UBC’s Schlagintweit lead the Birds’ with 18 kills, 12 digs, and seven blocks.  She gave credit to her performance tonight to both UBC’s setters, Kelsey Clarke, and Alessandra Gentile.  

“They have been setting really well tonight, so I love getting up there and swinging as hard as I can. Playing defence has also been fun against this team as they have a lot of really good hitters so it’s exciting to get a touch on the ball or a dig.”

Lisa Barclay had a big night as well finishing with 16 kills and nine digs, while Brisebois chippped in with 14 kills.

On the Dinos side of the net, Ali Woolley lead Calgary with 18 kills, 14 digs and five blocks.  Woolley was followed closely by teammate Kate Pexman with 17 kills and 12 digs.     

The series continues tomorrow evening, with game two set for 5:00 pm (PT) at the Jack Simpson Gymnasium in Calgary.