Aneesa Heatherington/UBC Thunderbirds
VANCOUVER – After shutting out Regina the night before, the UBC Thunderbirds continued their winning ways with another 3-0 (25-16, 25-23, 25-12) triumph Saturday to complete the weekend sweep of the Cougars at War Memorial Gym.
UBC's offence was clicking as they recorded 40 kills and cranked 15 services aces – with Juliana Kaufmanis, Emily Cicon and Danielle Brisebois firing three aces apiece. Brisebois lead the T-Birds with 12 kills and a team-high eight digs, while Siobhan Finan added seven kills.
Jenna Krahn earned six kills, two digs and two blocks for the Cougars, while Molly Wade-Cummings and Jordin Gudmundson each picked up four kills and two digs in the loss. Taylor Ungar had a team-best five digs. Kathleen Bruce had two solo blocks and four block assists.
In the first set, a kill from Bruce and a UBC attack error allowed the Cougars to cut their deficit to 12-10. However, the 'Birds won the next six points – two on Cicon aces – to gain control.
Regina pulled ahead 5-4 in the second set after a marathon rally was completed on a Krahn kill. Then, Ciara Hanly and Alessandra Gentile stuffed the Cougars' attack and Kaufmanis served up two aces to take a 7-5 advantage. The teams went back and forth, with Regina winning four points to go up 13-8, before the hosts ran off five-consecutive points – with three coming on Brisebois aces – to take a 15-14 lead.
Tied 23-23, Gentile dropped an ace and Cicon closed out the second set 25-23 on a kill.
Gabrielle Attieh took over in the third. The rookie middle blocker notched a season-best five kills to help put the 'Birds up 15-6 and they cruised to a 25-12 victory for the match.
"I was really excited for the opportunity to make an impact," said Attieh. "The energy of all the girls was really great."
UBC took the opportunity to show off their depth, and it paid off for head coach Doug Reimer.
"One of my goals for today was to make it so when we're substituting more and playing different people, it looks seamless. People like [Gabrielle], the way she played…she definitely answered the call."
With the weekend sweep, the Thunderbirds improve to 16-4 to keep pace with the Calgary Dinos for third in the Canada West. Next up for UBC is a date with Canada's top team, as the Alberta Pandas roll into Vancouver for the T-Birds' final home series of the regular season.
"Without question, Alberta is legitimately an undefeated team and the number one ranked team in the country. We're going to really have a good week of prep," said Reimer. "Having Alberta with two weeks left in the season is great because it shows us where we're at and how we need to play moving forward."
Game time is set for 6 p.m. PT Friday and 5 p.m. PT Saturday evening.
Regina (3-19) will travel to Calgary next weekend for a Friday-Saturday doubleheader against the Dinos.
IMAGE CREDIT: Wilson Wong/UBC Thunderbirds