WVB: T-Birds knock off No. 1-ranked Spartans

WVB: T-Birds knock off No. 1-ranked Spartans

By Mark Janzen, Trinity Western University

LANGLEY, B.C. – For the second night in a row, UBC knocked off the No. 1-ranked Trinity Western women's volleyball team, with the Thunderbirds winning 3-0 (25-20, 25-23, 25-18) Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.

Led by Kiera Van Ryk, who finished the match with 19 kills while hitting .485, UBC (13-7) earned the three-set win to complete a weekend sweep of the previously undefeated Spartans (16-2).

Beyond Van Ryk, UBC's Victoria Behie and Tessa Davis had seven kills each, while setter Olivia Furlan, who guided the T-Birds to a .317 hitting percentage, had 41 assists to go with five blocks.

The Spartans Hilary Howe (Calgary) led TWU with nine kills, while Savannah Purdy (Victoria) had five kills and Ashtyn McKenzie (Vernon, B.C.) had four kills, three blocks and a .333 hitting percentage. TWU finished the night hitting .130.

UBC opened a 12-6 lead in the first set and held an edge the rest of the way. The Spartans clawed back within two points after a kill from Howe made it 16-14. The teams traded points until 20-18, but a 4-0 run from the visitors all but sealed the opening set. After two Spartan points, a Van Ryk kill ended the set. Van Ryk had a set-high six kills for UBC while Howe had four kills to lead TWU.

The Spartans came out flying in the second set, grabbing a 7-4 lead before extending it to 14-9. However, the T-Birds roared back, evening the set 14-14. The teams went back and forth down the stretch, but a late call – one that was much discussed at the umpire stand – went UBC's way to give the T-Birds a 24-21 lead. TWU tallied the next two points, but Van Ryk's sixth kill of the frame gave UBC the set.

The third set was close early, but back-to-back blocks from UBC capped a 4-0 run that helped the T-Birds to a 12-8 lead. TWU closed to within one point, after a Purdy kill made it 15-14, but the T-Birds never allowed the home side any closer. A late run from UBC saw the T-Birds cruise to a seven-point victory.

NOTABLE
• UBC finished the night with an 8-4 edge in blocks.
• After starting the season with three wins in their first eight matches, the T-Birds have won 10 of their last 12 outings.
• Including the postseason, TWU has lost six straight matches against UBC.
• The Spartans last win against the T-Birds was Nov. 26, 2016, which was the second win of a weekend sweep for TWU.
• Including preseason, the Spartans are now 25-2 on the season.

UP NEXT
TWU is on the road next weekend as the Spartans travel to play Mount Royal Feb. 1-2.

About Spartan Athletics
As official members of U SPORTS, the Spartans currently compete in 10 sports in the Canada West conference, including women's and men's soccer, volleyball, basketball, cross country and track & field. TWU also competes in the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) in men's hockey. Since TWU entered U SPORTS in 1999, the Spartans have won 11 U SPORTS team championships and 25 Canada West team championships.

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