SASKATOON – The No. 8 ranked University of Saskatchewan Huskies opened the Canada West men’s volleyball season with a 3-1 (27-25, 25-23, 21-25, 25-20) over the visiting UBC Thunderbirds Friday night at the PAC in Saskatoon.


It was the first match of the season for both teams.


Derek Epp was strong in his university debut quarterbacking the Huskies with 39 assists. Andrew Nelson led the Huskies with a match-high 18 kills, while Colin Fraser added another 15.  Nelson, Fraser and libero Etienne Hagenbuch each recorded seven digs.


Mat Guidi led the T-Birds on the attack tallying 14 kills, while Irvan Brar added another 11 and Cam Fennema nine. Tyson Smith had a match-high nine digs.


The two teams matched each other point-for-point to open the match and were tied 15 times in the set. After an Epp service error to tie the set at 25, Saskatchewan scored a Nelson and Zak Rempel attacks for the 27-25 win.


Saskatchewan built a small lead in the second set and continued to hold that throughout the game. An Epp dump into the T-Birds court gave Saskatchewan the 25-23 win. Tied at 19, UBC took a lead on a Joel Regehr kill. The T-Birds never looked back cruising a 25-21 win.


The win in the fourth set seemed to give UBC momentum, jumping out to a 6-0 lead. Saskatchewan climbed back into the game at 14 points. The lead switched hands three more times before Saskatchewan took a 17-16 lead. They went on to win 25-20.


The two teams will meet again Saturday night at the PAC. Match time is slated for 8 p.m.