T-Birds bid farewell to TRU to sweep the weekend

The UBC Thunderbirds (5-3) defeated the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack (1-5) 3-0 (33-31, 25-18, 25-18) on a foggy Saturday night at War Memorial Gym to complete their first series of to win 2022.

“I think defensively we had better intentions,” said UBC head coach mike hawkin after the ‘Birds had taken care of business on the home court. “If you look at the box score, we still had too many errors. We’re going to be aggressive from the serve line, but there’s a fine line between aggressive and reckless and both teams have been flirting with that all weekend. Also our attacking errors… we are better than the efficiency we showed this weekend and now we have the weekend to clean up some things.

Matt Neaves and Gerald Murray each got 11 kills in the win, with Mason Greves He amassed 31 assists and two kills for the T-Birds. Samuel Elgert led the WolfPack with nine kills and four total blocks, while Anton Napolitano had six kills and 13 assists with seven grabs in the loss.

ONE TysonSmith Ace gave UBC an 8-6 lead in the first, but Napolitano equalized 9-9 before the ‘Birds carried a 16-13 lead into the technical timeout after a Neaves kill. Napolitano equalized again with a kill at 16-16 and Thundersky WalkingBear gave the visitors a 20-19 lead before Napolitano extended it to 22-19. ONE Duncan Clark Ace brought UBC within one and a Brandsma kill put it 22-22. A net breach by the WolfPack gave the T-Birds their seventh set point Cole Brandsma ended with a kill from the left touchline at 33-31.

In the second set, the Thunderbirds took a 14-8 lead Michael Dowaniuk painted the corner with an ace at 16-9. TRU responded with a 3-0 run, but Murray had an ace and Neaves unloaded with a kill to make it 20-13. A Dowhaniuk kill gave the birds a set point and Mason Greves clipped out of bounds at 25-18.

Dowhaniuk broke a 12-12 tie with a kill in the third set and Neaves gave the Thunderbirds a 14-12 advantage. Sam Flowerday pulled off a kill from the back row at 19-16 UBC, but Murray had back-to-back kills for a five-point cushion. Murray got another kill for a 23-17 lead and the 25-18 on a serve error.

TRU returns home next weekend to host the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades in Kamloops on Friday and Saturday, while UBC now has a bye week before hosting powerhouse Trinity Western Spartans on Jan. 28th and 29th.

“Getting healthy will be the first step,” Hawkins said. “It was great that we could get two wins with a slightly crazy line-up but it will be nice to get it Coltyn Liu Back it will be nice to get James Vincent back, and then we can refine our typical system. The nice thing is that if we have to throw out a non-traditional line-up, we have evidence that the lads will be ready.”

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