Cougars kickstart their 2019 by sweeping UBC

Cougars kickstart their 2019 by sweeping UBC
Kayla Kievits, Cougars Athletics
CALGARY – After a few weeks off to rejuvenate the Cougars start their first match of the New Year with a bang. Taking on the UBC Thunderbirds the Cougars swept the match in three sets. The final scores were 28-26, 25-23 and 25-18
The Booster Juice Players of the game, from the Cougars, Nicky Zalasky and the Thunderbirds, Kiera Van Ryk. The Cougars top attacker was Carly Davies with 11 kills. And The Thunderbirds Booster Juice Player Van Ryk led her team in kills with 16. Cougars also had an advantage in team blocks with a total of 10 compared to the Thunderbirds six. 
With an early three-point lead out of the gates, the Thunderbirds utilized their momentum starting the first set of the night. Establishing an early lead worked in their favour as the Cougars tried to fight back, but were unable to tie the score. The Cougars called the first timeout of the game in an effort to regain ground, down 8-12. The Thunderbirds went on another roll following the timeout and were the first to 16. The Thunderbirds led by seven points, 16-9 at the technical timeout. Showing no mercy to the Cougars the Thunderbirds kept their foot on the gas pedal. Quickly falling behind even further the Cougars used their second timeout, 12-21 in an effort to regain control of the set. A substitution from the Cougars helped them to switch up their defense and slowly crawl back into the game. After a run from the Cougars, the Thunderbirds used their first timeout still up 23-18. Although things were looking down for the Cougars, they turned their luck around and forced the Thunderbirds to call their second timeout, up by only one-point for the first time in the set, 24-23. After a missed attack from the Thunderbirds, the Cougars took their first lead of the set, 25-24. Ultimately a serve from Cougars Cassidy Kitchen won the set 28-26. 
Although they were coming off the win, the Cougars started the second set similar to the first, slow. Yet again the Thunderbirds found themselves off to an early lead and were quickly up 12-7. After regaining the ball, Cougars Kitchen took them on a serving streak slowly trying to close the gap created by the Thunderbirds. The technical timeout had the Thunderbirds up by four, 16-12.  Not finding much luck after the technical timeout, the Cougars utilized their first timeout of the set down 13-20. The timeout worked for the Cougars and like the first set, they slowly started crawling in on the Thunderbirds lead. After closing the gap to only a three-point difference the Thunderbirds called their first timeout up 21-18. Finding great success in their defense in the front row the Cougars continued to close in on the lead. An ace from Cougars Dholi Thokbuom tied the game at 22. After the Cougars scored the following point taking their lead, yet again late in the set for the first time the Thunderbirds called their second timeout. For the second set in a row, the Cougars make an incredible come back and win the set with a kill from Kitchen. 
Finally utilizing their momentum from the win, the Cougars take their first early lead in set three. With the Cougars up 5-0, the Thunderbirds call their first timeout early in the set. Although the Cougars kept their lead, they used their first timeout up by two, 9-7. The Cougars stayed focused and earned back their five-point lead. An outside attack from Cougars, Chantel Park started the technical timeout 16-11. The Cougars kept the pressure on the Thunderbirds and were able to maintain the five-point lead they had created. The Thunderbirds called a timeout down 15-20. The Thunderbirds felt the pressure, as the Cougars had the win in sight. Just as the first two sets, the match ended with a kill from Cougars Kitchen for a final score of 15-18. 
The Cougars will play the Thunderbirds again tomorrow night, Jan. 5, 2018 at 5 p.m. on Kenyon Court. Check back to see if the Cougars can start the New Year undefeated.