T-Birds fall in four tightly contested sets to TWU - petsitterbank

T-Birds fall in four tightly contested sets to TWU

The UBC Thunderbirds (5-4) fell in four hard-fought sets to the conference-leading Trinity Western Spartans (6-1) in front of a sold-out crowd at War Memorial Gym. The T-Birds won the first set 25-18, before the visiting Spartans captured three consecutive sets – 25-19, 25-22, and 25-19.

“It was a very disappointing night,” said UBC head coach Doug Reimer. “I give TWU credit, after the first set they really settled down. I think their serve, pass, and their offense was better than ours. We gave up far too many easy points and at times it just seemed to spin a little bit out of control for us. They got some good performances from their outside hitters, but I don’t think we made them work hard enough to earn their points. I thought there were times where we did well – like in the first set – but we have to do that for a whole match.”

Cara Kovacs led the ‘Birds with 16 kills and added seven digs, while Brynn Pasin put up 11 kills with seven digs and four blocks in the loss.

Meaghan Mealey had a team-high 15 kills for the Spartans with three aces and 10 digs, Savannah Purdy tallied nine kills with five aces and five digs, and Ansah Odoom earned nine kills with six blocks and six digs as the Spartans.

Odoom and Kaylee Plouffe combined for a block to give the visitors a 7-6 edge in the first set before Purdy dropped her first ace for the Spartans. UBC responded and took a three-point lead on Erika Vermette kill at 11-8. Pasin cranked a kill from the left side for a four-point cushion and the ‘Birds took a 16-13 into the technical timeout. setter Kayla Oxland teed up back-to-back aces for UBC at 20-15 and the T-Birds kept their five-point advantage with a Cossarini tip for a 23-18 lead. A Spartans error lifted UBC to a set point, and the Thunderbirds captured the first set with a TWU net violation at 25-18.

TWU came out firing in the second frame and earned an 11-7 lead before the ‘Birds rattled off a 5-1 run – punctuated by a Kovacs kill on a lengthy rally – to knot it up at 12-12 and carried a 16- 14 edge into the timeout. The Spartans replied with a run of their own midway through the set and led 21-18 after a kill by Mikayla Benterud. Courtney Hillier stopped the Spartans momentum with a kill at 22-19, but another pair of UBC errors gave TWU a set point and Purdy closed out the frame with a kill at 25-19.

The Spartans held an 6-3 lead in the third thanks to a perfectly placed Purdy kill down the line, and Mealey served an ace for an 11-8 advantage. TWU maintained their three-point edge at the technical timeout until Pasin brought the T-Birds within one on a kill from the left side and evened it up at 17-17 on the next play. Trinity Solecki followed up Pasin’s two kills with an ace to force a Spartans timeout. The two teams traded points through to a 21-21 tie until Purdy snapped the deadlock with a kill and Odoom scored a kill for a 23-21 lead. A UBC attack sailed wide to bring TWU within one point of the set and Odoom won the set with a kill at 25-22.

Emma Doyon fired one of her four aces for a 4-4 tie to start the fourth, before the Spartans went on a 4-0 run and maintained their lead through to the technical timeout up 16-11. Mealey cracked a kill at 18-13 TWU, but Pasin responded with a kill down the line for the ‘Birds and Doyon teamed up with Solecki for a big block at 19-15 Spartans. Danielle Price and Oxland earned a block to cut the deficit to three at 20-17, but TWU earned a set point on a UBC error and captured the set at 25-19 on a Mealey kill.

“I think the execution on everything is going to have to be better,” said Reimer as the ‘Birds will look to bounce back against the Spartans on Saturday night at War Memorial Gym. “We’re going to have to improve in most areas, but it’s a funny game – sometimes not much has to change and things can go a lot better. We just have to make sure to regroup and be ready to go.”

The two teams will cap off their two-game series on Saturday at 5:00 pm (PT), tickets are now sold out but the action can be streamed live on Canada West TV.

Match highlights

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