Tanasichuk sparks Calgary comeback to split series

Tanasichuk sparks Calgary comeback to split series

By Zenan Sherbaniuk; Dinos Communications

CALGARY – The University of Calgary Dinos women's volleyball team exacted revenge on the UBC Thunderbirds Saturday, coming back from a two sets to none deficit to win in five sets (21-25, 22-25, 25-22, 25-21, 15-11) at the Jack Simpson Gymnasium.

After dropping the weekend opener in four sets last night, the Dinos found themselves playing catch up out of the gate Saturday. A 4-0 run along with a 4-1 run gave the Thunderbirds an 11-6 lead early on. The Dinos did their best to claw into the deficit keyed by Laura McManes, who had an impressive five kills and two digs in the set. Calgary closed the margin to one at 22-21 forcing a UBC timeout, but that was as close as they got, as the Thunderbirds closed out the set with three straight points.

The second set saw the Dinos once again fall behind early as the Thunderbirds jumped out to a 7-2 lead. UBC never relinquished this lead despite the Dinos best efforts, who managed to cut the deficit to two points at 22-20. 

With the 25-22 win the Thunderbirds held a commanding 2-0 set lead in the match.

Calgary was finally able to play with a lead in the third set, heading into the technical timeout up 16-13. The Thunderbirds were able to tie things up at 17, but back-to-back Kate Pexman kills put the Dinos ahead again. Calgary got to set point on McManes' eighth kill of the match and the Dinos finished it off a point later on a Hannah Tanasichuk kill, her ninth.

In the fourth set the Dinos returned to their early struggles falling behind 5-0 forcing head coach Natalie Gurnsey to call a timeout. Calgary responded, tying it up on the back of a 6-1 run. After both teams traded points the Dinos grabbed three in a row to head into the technical timeout up 16-13 for the second straight set. The Thunderbirds were able to tie it up one more time at 18 all, but Calgary held off UBC's attack, and forced a fifth set with a 25-21 win.

The Dinos limited the Thunderbirds to only six kills in the fourth set on a 0.040 hitting percentage, as Tanasichuk and Jaylynn Moffat were brick walls for Calgary.

In the fifth and deciding set the Dinos jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead following multiple Thunderbirds attacking errors. Calgary headed into the technical timeout up two but UBC rallied and grabbed an 11-10 lead. Tanasichuk answered for the Dinos with a kill, followed by a service ace to give Calgary the lead once again, one they did not relinquish on their way to a 15-11 final set win. 

The comeback win saw a number of Dinos with spectacular performances. Pexman led the team with 20 kills, while Tanasichuk recorded 15 coming off the bench.

Head Coach Natalie Gurnsey applauded the efforts of her substitutes Hannah Tanasichuk and Lexis Peart tonight.

"Hannah did a phenomenal job at the net offensively. This was our first time committing to her on the right side but she did such a good job at the net, passing, and serving to gain some confidence for us. I can't say enough about the job she did. And Lexis all year has been that player to come off the bench and provide energy for our team. She made really good choices at the net."

With the split the Dinos remained tied with the Thunderbirds at 14-4. Both teams enjoy the bye next weekend before returning to action Feb. 10-11 when UBC will host Regina while Calgary will visit Saskatchewan.

-UC-

Photo by David Moll