no. 6 thunderbirds sweep no. 3 spartans in season finale
LANGLEY, British Columbia – The No. 6-ranked UBC took an early lead and never allowed the No. 3 Spartans to find their rhythm as the Thunderbirds cruised to a convincing 3-0 (25-17, 25-11, 25-15) win in the final match of the regular season for both teams Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.
With UBC hitting .500 as a team throughout the match and the Spartans only earning two blocks, the Thunderbirds were dominant in all three sets en route to the victory.
The loss drops TWU to 20-4 on the season and will see the Spartans finish third overall in the Canada West standings. The Spartans will now open the playoffs at home against Thompson Rivers in the Canada West Quarter-Finals. UBC improved to 17-7 on the season and will now host Brandon in the Canada West Quarter-Finals.
The Spartans best-of-three quarter-final matchup against the WolfPack will start Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Langley Events Centre. The Spartans and WolfPack split their weekend series this year. The winner will advance to the Canada West Final Four.
“UBC adjusted from yesterday and made some very good adjustments that we didn’t respond to and they played a very good game,” said Spartans coach Ryan Hofer. “I’m going to give full credit to UBC for how they played, but we lacked a little bit of fight tonight.
“We’re one of the best blocking teams in the country and we weren’t able to utilize that the way we normally do. We’re going to get back to work and we’re going to fix some stuff and we’re going to get better.”
Danielle Brisebois led UBC with 14 kills and just one error while hitting .684. Alissa Coulter added nine kills with just one error while Juliana Kaufmanis had nine kills with just two errors. Setter Alessandra Gentile had a match-high 32 assists.
For the Spartans, Elly Wendel (Caronport, Sask.) led the way offensively with 13 kills. TWU setter Nikki Cornwall (Coquitlam, B.C.) had 25 assists.
As a team, TWU hit just .102 and had just two service aces to UBC’s seven.
The T-Birds took an early lead in the first set and held control throughout, going up 19-10 before cruising to an eight-point win. Kaufmanis, Coulter and Brisebois each had four kills to lead UBC to a .500 attacking percentage in the first set.
The second set saw more of the same from the visitors as UBC built an 18-8 lead before running away for a 25-11 win. The T-Birds hit .684 as a team and didn’t commit a single attacking error in the set, with Brisebois leading the way with seven kills on nine attempts. Wendel countered with five kills for TWU, but the Spartans were held to a .065 hitting percentage.
The Spartans, who entered the match averaging a conference-best 2.82 blocks per set, were held without a block through two sets.
The T-Birds continued to roll in the third set. They took an 18-9 lead and were in full control throughout. From there, they took the set 25-15 while hitting .379. Coulter had five kills on five attacks to lead UBC.
Game Notes: The T-Birds turned the tables after Friday’s match, which saw TWU win in four sets over UBC… TWU left side Sophie Carpentier (Ottawa) was sidelined with an injury sustained last weekend…Graduating senior Mariel Garcia (Winnipeg) was honoured in a special post-game ceremony.