VANCOUVER – The seventh-ranked UBC Thunderbirds upset the No. 1 seed Trinity Western Spartans 3-2 (25-23, 22-25, 21-25, 25-18, 15-12) in a dramatic five-set thriller to win gold at the 2023 U SPORTS Women’s Volleyball Championship, presented by Mikasa at War Memorial Gym in Vancouver, B.C.
A series of runs early in the first set saw each team overcome four-point deficits. UBC eventually pulled out in front, with Cara Kovacs finishing off a 25-23 win with a kill that sent the home fans into a frenzy. The Spartans came out re-energized in the second, quickly grabbing an 11-2 lead. UBC clawed back to make 24-22, but that was as close as they would come, as Trinity tied the match at one set apiece. Neither team could build a significant lead in the third, the back-and-forth set was tied at 10 different points. Trinity eventually pulled in front and put away UBC 25-21 on a kill by Meaghan Mealey. The fourth set started with a four-point Spartans run, but the ‘Birds soon ripped off an 8-0 run of their own to wrestle back the lead. The two teams were knotted up again at 16, before UBC went on another six-point run and pulled away to win 25-18.
The final set to decide the national champion began with the two rivals going blow for blow. A perfectly placed tip by Jayde Robertsen gave UBC an 8-6 lead at the technical switch. The two teams exchanged small advantages from there until the T-Birds went on a 5-0 run to set up match point, powered by a pair of aces from Kayla Oxland. A frantic rally ensued, which ended when UBC’s Elise Petit used the final swing of her U SPORTS career to slam the ball off of a pair of blockers and out of play to win the title in front of the home crowd.
Petit, who was named the tournament MVP, led all hitters with 20 kills to go along with 13 digs. UBC’s Kacey Jost had a game-high 25 digs while chipping in six assists. TWU’s Kaylee Plouffe, Ansah Odoom and Savannah Purdy each had a team-high 14 kills. Setter Dora Komlodi has 52 assists for Trinity while also leading the team with 21 digs.
UBC takes home its U SPORTS-leading 13th national championship after hosting the tournament for the first time in 40 years. Trinity Western medals in a second consecutive national championship after entering as the top-ranked team in the country for a third straight year.
Mikasa Players of the Game
- UBC: Jayde Robertsen
- TWU: Dora Komlodi
- Setter – Dora Komlodi (TWU)
- Libero – Kacey Jost (UBC)
- Left Side – Lucy Glen-Carter (DAL)
- Outside Hitter – Raya Surinx (MAN)
- Middle blocker – Jayde Robertsen (UBC)
- Middle blocker – Kaylee Plouffe (TWU)
MVP – Elise Petit (UBC)
Fair Play Award – Brett Boldon (DAL)