VANCOUVER - The UBC Thunderbirds returned home and rolled to a 3-0 (25-21, 25-17, 25-19) win over the Mt. Royal Cougars at War Memorial Gym.
"We definitely came to play tonight," said UBC Head Coach Kerry MacDonald. "They're a really good team, it was definitely an off-night for them. But we deserve some credit – I think we made it tough."
Irvan Brar had team-high 11 kills with 3 assists and 3 digs on a night where the Surrey native was recognized with a scholarship for his contribution to the Surrey volleyball community.
Mat Guidi notched 8 kills and 2 digs, Byron Keturakis racked up 28 assists with 5 digs, and Cam Fennema added 7 kills in the victory.
"It felt really good," said Fennema. "It was connecting all night…mostly because of our setter Byron. He's been improving every single day. We have a mentality where the previous point doesn't matter and we're process-based, so our philosophy is well set."
UBC came out flying in the first set, up 5-0 on a Keturakis ace and lead 16-9 at the break. Brar came up with a massive solo block to go up 21-14, before Fennema closed out the set 25-21 on a kill. The 'Birds attacked with a 0.310 hitting percentage in the opening frame, while the Cougars logged 6 errors.
It was much of the same in the second set, as the T-Birds jumped out to a 6-0 advantage and never looked back. A Joel Regehr block put UBC up 23-16, and Brar swung away with his left arm on set point for a 25-17 win.
The third set saw Brar serve up a topspin bomb before racking up his second ace on a soft changeup to take a 5-4 edge over the Cougars. Mt. Royal upped the ante and traded blows with the 'Birds before going up 13-12. At 14-14 Keturakis showed off his quick hands to set up Regehr for the kill to take the lead yet again. Guidi hammered it down the line to close out the set 25-19 and put the Thunderbirds back in the win column.
Saturday night will see the two teams clash again at 6:30 pm PST.