VANCOUVER – The UBC Thunderbirds advanced to the Canada West Final Four championship tournament after defeating the Calgary Dinos 3-1 on Saturday night at the Jack Simpson Gymnasium to sweep the best-of-three quarter-final series 2-0.

The set scores were 35-33, 18-25, 25-23, 25-18.

UBC’s Danielle Brisebois (Bolton, Ont.) led her team with 15 kills, four digs, and five blocks. Teammate Rosie Schlagintweit (Abbotsford, B.C.) followed closely with 13 kills, nine digs, and three blocks.

“Keeping our composure down the stretch in the first set was very important and great to see after losing in a similar situation last night,” said UBC head coach Doug Reimer. “But I feel the real key was the middle of the third set we came together and brought a higher level of focus.”

On the Dinos side of the net, Kate Pexman lead Calgary with 15 kills, six digs, and two blocks. Pexman was followed by teammates Jaylynn Moffatt and Beth Vinnell, who both tallied 10 kills.

UBC trailed 17-15 in the fourth set, but then rolled off nine straight points to stun the Dinos and take a 24-17 lead. The teams traded points to allow the T-Birds to leave Calgary with a playoff sweep. Eight of the nine points were won with Lisa Barclay (Brandon, Man.) on the service line. The 2013-14 Canada West Most Valuable Player delivered two aces as part of the 9-0 surge.

The Thunderbirds were behind 16-11 at the technical timeout. Coming out of the break, Brisebois got the sideout for UBC with a kill. Then with Katie Crawford (North Vancouver, B.C.) serving, the ‘Birds added another five points in a row to go ahead 17-16. The two squads went back and forth and were tied at 23-23 before the visitors claimed the final two points.

Calgary won the second thanks in part to an 8-3 run to close out the set. That gave the Dinos some momentum after the Thunderbirds earned the opener in dramatic fashion, 35-33.

UBC had two match points leading 24-22 but Calgary fought them both off to level the score at 24-24. The teams tied nine more times after that before Schlagintweit’s kill gave the Thundebirds their ninth set point, which they converted thanks to a combination block from Brisebois and Abbey Keeping (Surrey, B.C.). The home team had set point three times but couldn’t finish off the proceedings. 

“It was great to see so many contributions from our entire roster during the two matches, it really was a team win,” said Reimer.

The Thunderbirds will now head to Edmonton for the Canada West Final Four. They will face top-seeded hosts Alberta at 5 p.m. PT in one of the semifinals. The top three teams at the event will advance to the CIS women’s volleyball national championship tournament in Toronto.