Winnipeg, Manitoba – The UBC men’s volleyball team delivered a crushing blow to the University of Manitoba Bisons to win the Canada West quarter-final series 2-0. The Thunderbirds will move on to the Canada West Final Four next weekend thanks to this victory. The team only gave up one set and otherwise dominated their hosts with the final set scores coming in at 25-17, 29-31, 25-20 and 25-12.
“We’re pleased our performance because we knew Manitoba would be tougher tonight which they were off the bat, but we matched their intensity and played extremely tough from the start,” said UBC head coach Richard Schick. “The momentum was in their favour after the tight second set, but we didn’t let it faze us. We had some really outstanding individual performances, however we played an even better team game.”
UBC came out into the first set with a great deal of confidence and led their hosts from early on thanks to a five point streak to bring the score to 9-4. The Bisons were unable to recover from their early deficit and the Thunderbirds took the first set of the match by a wide margin, 25-17.
The battle intensified for the marathon second set. The two teams traded points throughout the set, staying neck and neck until Manitoba managed to widen the gap to three points to make things 20-17. UBC chipped away at this lead thanks to a couple of unforced errors from Manitoba and kills from Ben Chow and Quentin Schmidt to tie things up at 22-22. Neither team was able to hold a lead until the Bisons finally managed to push through with a kill from Adam DeJonckheere and an error from UBC finally tipped the scales, to take the set 31-29.
Though the match was now tied at one set apiece, UBC had more wind in their sales than their hosts going forward. After leading the way for most of the third set, they put their hosts away to once again gain the upper hand, winning 25-20.
The fourth and pivotal set was nothing short of gravy for the T-Birds. The Bisons were unable to defend against their offensive onslaught and appeared to lose a great deal of energy as UBC continued to widen their lead. UBC ruthlessly pursued their championship dream and hammered the Bisons in a stunning 25-12 set victory.
UBC saw many of their players contribute to their offense this evening. Alex Russell and Quentin Schmidt led the Thunderbirds in kills with 14 apiece, followed closely by Ben Chow and Mac McNicol both of whom made 13 kills. Russell also showed off his star quality defense putting up seven blocks for the team throughout the course of the match. Ian Perry had the most digs of anyone on the court with 13.
The offensive leaders for the Bisons were Devren Dear and DeJonckheere, who made 15 and 13 kills respectively. Alex Strachan was an asset to the team defensively with his 10 digs.
“We haven’t accomplished what we’ve set out to do this year, but we continue to stay on track and are excited about going back to the Final Four in Alberta,” said Schick.
The Canada West Final Four will take place next weekend in Edmonton, AB. UBC will play the host Alberta Golden Bears, while Trinity Western will take on Brandon. It all gets started Friday, February 20th in the Alberta capital.