The UBC Thunderbirds picked up a three-set victory over the UNB Varsity Reds in the opening game at the TELUS 2018 U SPORTS Men’s Volleyball Championship on Friday afternoon.
UBC put together set scores of 25-11, 25-14, 25-19 in their opening match to advance to the semifinals set for 6:00 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. PT on Saturday at host McMaster University. They will play the winner of the Queen’s Gaels and Alberta Golden Bears, who play on Friday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. ET / 12 p.m. PT.
I thought we were able to execute our game plan really early, and that’s the way we’re capable of playing. We were able to bring it from the first point on and able to maintain it for the most part.
Kerry MacDonald - UBC head coach
The Thunderbirds were led by Keith West, who earned player of the game honours for UBC. West tallied seven kills, one assist and a team high five digs for a total of 13 points to lead the way. Teammate Irvan Brar had 11 points with Jordan Deshane contributing 10.5 points. Both Brar and Deshane led UBC with eight kills.
For UNB, Ryan Colpitts was the top player posting eight kills on six kills and two assists to earn player of the game honours in the loss.
In a dominant opening set, the Thunderbirds hit .611 as a team, committing just a single error versus 12 kills. By comparison, the AUS champion Varsity Reds committed seven errors and collecting just five kills to hit -.105.
UBC’s Keith West was three of five hitting in the set without an error (.600) to lead the way for the Canada West bronze medalists.
UBC took a 16-11 lead at the technical timeout after a kill from West.
Stretching their advantage after the break, the Thunderbirds reeled off seven of the set’s last nine points to take it by an 11-point margin and secure a commanding two-set lead.
The Varsity Reds refused to go quietly, however, and opened a 5-1 lead to begin the third set and send the Thunderbirds to an early timeout.
But that lead evaporated when Matt Guidi took to the service line and oversaw an eight-point run for UBC, vaulting them ahead 13-10.
From there, UBC would keep a comfortable margin and push to a 25-19 set victory to secure the opening game sweep.
UNB head coach Dan McMorran rued his team’s slow start, dictated often by UBC’s pressure from the service line.
“We struggled to start well in that match and I think their serving went a long way toward doing that and making us predictable,” said McMorran. “In the second and third sets we were able to get them out of system a little bit more, and run some transition on them.”
Players of the Game
- UBC: Keith West
- UNB: Ryan Colpitts