Aneesa Heatherington/UBC Thunderbirds
VANCOUVER – The UBC Thunderbirds shut out their opponents for the third time in four matches, as they swept the Winnipeg Wesmen for the second straight night (25-14, 25-18, and 25-11) on home court.
Danielle Brisebois paced the Thunderbirds with 11 kills. Other UBC statistical leaders were: Alessandra Gentile with 24 assists, Maggie Liwith five blocks, Victoria Behie with six digs and Anna Price with three service aces.
Karissa Kuhr knocked down seven kills to lead the visiting Wesmen, while Danika Picklyk had six. Rylie Dickson had 19 assists for Winnipeg, while Kuhr and Madison Fyvie tied for the team high with five digs each. Maria Colvin had four blocks.
The Thunderbirds jumped out to a commanding 12-3 lead in the opening set and were able to maintain the advantage throughout. On their second set point, Li stuffed the Winnipeg attack to take the first game 25-14.
Winnipeg responded well to start the second, jumping out to a 10-3 lead. Colvin and Alex Rose teamed up for a couple of combination blocks during this run. Colvin also recorded a solo block, and a kill to build the Wesmen lead.
UBC responded by winning 15 of the next 18 points, with Laura MacTaggart capping off the run with a kill to make it 18-13 in favour of the T-Birds. Soon after, Hanly came up with a crucial dig that led to an Anna Price punishing kill that all but sealed the set at 21-16. Li capped off the game with another thundering spike – two of her three kills were set winners for the T-Birds.
It was all UBC in the final set as they dominated with a 0.444 hitting percentage and took the final game 25-11.
Eight huge service aces helped propel the 'Birds toward the victory. In addition to Price's three, Li earned two. Brisebois upheld her attacking prowess as her 12 kills to solidify her place as sixth overall in U Sports with 58 in just four matches so far.
Hanly felt her team was more clinical in their performance, despite accomplishing the same result.
"Tonight we definitely cleaned up a lot a things, we played our game a lot more and executed when we needed to and got the job done."
Thunderbirds head coach Doug Reimer was also pleased with the improvement.
"I think we played a lot better for the duration of the match," he said. "Even in the second set when we're down, solid serving, great serving and limited unforced errors. I think we took it away from them. Credit to our three middle blockers – all three of them played two sets and they're doing a good job. It's nice to have Laura MacTaggart back in there."
Next up for the 'Birds is a weekend trip to Kamloops where they'll face Thompson Rivers, while Winnipeg travels to Calgary to battle the Dinos.
IMAGE CREDIT: Rich Lam/UBC Thunderbirds