Columbia athletics

T-Birds down TRU to sweep the weekend

The UBC Thunderbirds (5-3) defeated the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack (1-5) 3-0 (33-31, 25-18, 25-18) on a foggy Saturday night at the War Memorial Gym to sweep their first series of 2022.

“I think defensively we had better intention,” UBC head coach said mike hawkin after the ‘Birds took care of home field business. “Looking at the box score, we still had too many errors. We’re going to be aggressive from the service line, but there’s a fine line between aggressive and reckless and both teams kind of flirted with that. all weekend. Also, our attacking mistakes…we’re better than the efficiency we showed this weekend and now we have the weekend off to clean up some things.”

Matt Neaves and Gerard Murray get 11 kills each in the win, with Mason Greaves racking up 31 assists and two kills for the T-Birds. Samuel Elgert led the WolfPack with nine kills and four blocks in total, while Anton Napolitano had six kills and 13 assists with seven digs in the loss.

A Tyson Smith ace gave UBC an 8-6 lead in the first, but Napolitano tied it at 9-9 before the ‘Birds carried a 16-13 advantage into the technical timeout on a Neaves kill. Napolitano leveled once more at 16-16 with a kill and Thundersky WalkingBear gave the visitors a 20-19 lead before Napolitano extended it to 22-19. A Duncan Clark ace brought UBC within one and a Brandsma kill tied it at 22-22. A clear violation by the WolfPack gave the T-Birds their seventh set point which Cole Brandsma finished with a left side kill at 33-31.

The Thunderbirds took a 14-8 lead in the second set and Michel Dowhaniuk paints the corner with an ace at 16-9. TRU responded with a 3-0 run, but Murray found an ace and Neaves unloaded on a kill to make it 20-13. A Dowhaniuk kill gave the ‘Birds a set point and Mason Greaves capped the frame at 25-18.

Dowhaniuk broke a 12-12 third set tie with a kill and Neaves gave the Thunderbirds a 14-12 advantage. Sam Flowerday scored a kill from the back row at 19-16 UBC, but Murray had back-to-back kills for a five-point cushion. Murray had another kill for a 23-17, 25-18 lead on a service error.

TRU will return home next weekend to host the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades on Friday and Saturday in Kamloops, while UBC now have a week off before hosting the mighty Trinity Western Spartans on 28 January.e and 29e.

“Coming back healthy will be the first step,” Hawkins said. “It was great that we were able to get two wins with a bit of a funky formation, but it will be nice to have coltyn liu back, it will be nice to have James Vincett back, then we can fine-tune our typical system. The good thing is that we have proof that if we have to release a non-traditional formation, the guys will be ready to do it.”