VANCOUVER — The UBC Thunderbirds (5-5) fought hard in a narrow 1-3 (25-23, 17-25, 25-23, 25-22) loss to division-leading Trinity Western Spartans (7-1). War Memorial Gym on Saturday night.
Brynn Pasin had a T-Bird career-high 14 kills with three aces, 14 digs and five total blocks in the close loss. Cara Kovacs Added 16 kills and an ace, Trinity Solecki Set up seven kills with four blocks on and Claire Cossarini tied a season-high total of seven blocks for the ‘Birds.
Meaghan Mealy capped an impressive weekend with 16 kills, two aces and two total blocks for Trinity Western, while Savannah Purdy had 12 kills with eight digs and two aces in the win.
“I think we were really nervous,” Spartans head coach Ryan Hofer said after his team came off a long hiatus to win the first series of 2022. “We haven’t played in over two months and it was really good to come here. It’s always a tough gym and UBC are a great team so it was a fun fight. They were hot tonight and I felt there were some moments where we just had to sit back and find a way to get them to be aggressive and play good, unsafe volleyball. I thought we reacted well and started playing like that.
The two teams were even in the opener, trading points to a 12-12 tie until two UBC errors gave TWU a slim lead and Purdy led the Spartans 16-13 into the technical timeout. Kovacs kept the T-Birds within three on a kill from the left at 18-15 before a series of TWU errors tied them at 20-20. The Spartans rallied and earned a set point at 24-21, but Pasin extended the set on a kill and a Cossarini block made it 24-23 TWU. The late UBC push wasn’t quite enough to overtake the Spartans as TWU finished with a block at 25-23.
UBC started the second set strong defensively before two Pasin aces put the ‘Birds to an 8-4 lead before Kovacs increased it to 10-4 with a kill. The T-Birds maintained their six-point lead at 19-13 and led 21-13 after a block from Cossarini. Purdy managed a six-point deficit on a kill at 23-17 UBC, but Danielle price responded with a kill and Erika Vermet finished the set for the ‘Birds at 25-17.
The Thunderbirds had a slim lead in the third set, going into the timeout at 16:13 before Mealey TWU tapped two and equalized with a block at 17:17. Kovacs regained a two-point lead at 20:18, but Mikayla Benterud blocked at 22:21 UBC and Kirsten Kampman equalized at 22:22. In a 23-23 tie, Ansah Odoom crushed a kill for a set point and Dora Komlodi dropped an ace to take the set 25-23.
Purdy put the Spartans to a 12-10 lead in the fourth set before Kovacs equaled 12-12 and a huge Pasin block gave UBC the narrow lead. Kovacs lost 17-15 and scored a backrow kill, but the Spartans outlived the ‘Birds in a long rally to lead 19-16. Cossarini scored a kill at 23-20 TWU and Elise small brought UBC within one. Purdy gave the Spartans a match point and the visitors finished 25-22.
The ‘Birds now enter another bye week before heading to Abbotsford on February 11 to face the University of Fraser Valley Cascadesth and 12th. TWU returns home to host the UBC Okanagan Heat (6-2) on February 4thth and 5th at Langley.