Tyler Crayston, Brandon University Athletics
BRANDON – The Bobcat men's volleyball team made quick work of the UBC Thunderbirds on Friday night to remain perfect on the Canada West season.
The set scores were 25-16, 25-13 and 25-20.
The second-ranked Bobcats were coming off a bye week from conference play and entered the series against the T-Birds without Swiss sensation Robin Baghdady due to injury.
Freshman Max Brook took Baghdady's spot in the starting lineup and the Oakbank, Man. product contributed three kills in the Bobcats' win.
"I was a little nervous, but nervous just means you care," said Brook. "I was pumped and ready to go."
The first major momentum swing came in the first set with the match tied 8-8, before Brandon surged ahead for good with six straight points.
In the second, Brandon had a sparkling .417 hitting percentage. The home team started strong and took an early 6-2 advantage. The Bobcats' offence continued to roll with a 5-0 run shortly after. BU sat firmly in the drivers seat leading 17-11, and they used a 9-2 run to cruise through the second set.
The Thunderbirds got their game going in the third with a string of four straight points to grab an early 8-7 lead. The set was a seesaw showdown until the technical timeout. Brandon's 5-0 run down the final home stretch sealed up the victory as the Bobcats improved to 3-and-0.
"UBC is a good team and they are the defending national champions. We came in with the mindset that they were going to be just as good or better than last year. We came out as hard as we could and had the right mindset to succeed," added Brook.
Reece Dixon had 30 assists and four service aces, both were match highs for the undefeated Bobcats. BU's Elliott Viles led all scorers with 12 kills.
James Takken led UBC with seven kills as the Thunderbirds slipped to 0-and-5.
"The Bobcats played well on defence and they made some stops on us, which kept us from getting any points in transition and getting into the game," said Takken.
Brandon and UBC meet in the rematch on Saturday night at the Healthy Living Centre.
(Photo courtesy Matt Packwood)