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T-Birds battle back to upset Brock and advance to U SPORTS semifinals

VANCOUVER – The No. 7-seeded UBC Thunderbirds upset the No. 2 Brock Badgers in a thrilling 3-1 (18-25, 25-19, 27-25, 25-20) comeback victory in the third quarterfinal matchup at the 2023 U SPORTS Women’s Volleyball Championship inside a raucous War Memorial Gym.

Brock stormed out to an early 12-4 lead in the first before the host Thunderbirds regrouped to make it a four-point deficit at 17-13, but the OUA champions pulled away to take the opening set. UBC fought to a 10-10 tie in the second frame and earned a 21-17 lead on a solo block by captain Brynn Pasin en route to capturing the set. In the third, a Laurin Ainsworth kill gave the Badgers a 19-14 advantage as Brock maintained a narrow lead late in the frame. UBC fought off a string of Badger set points and completed the comeback to even the score at 24-24 on a Pasin kill before Lucy Borowski punctuated the set win for the T-Birds. The ‘Birds came up with a big block for a 17-12 edge in the fourth and maintained their composure through to victory on an Akash Grewal kill.

Elise Petit recorded a team-high 18 kills for the ‘Birds, Pasin put up 12 kills, Jayde Robertsen notched six kills at a .857 clip with a match-best seven blocks and two aces, and Kacey Jost earned 20 digs and eight assists in the hard-fought win. Laurin Ainsworth racked up a whopping 22 kills with two aces and four blocks for Brock, while Grace Pyatt put up 16 kills with a .577 hitting percentage and three blocks in the loss.

VANCOUVER,BC:MARCH 17, 2023 -- Brock v UBC during the quarterfinals of the U Sports Women's Volleyball National Championship action at UBC in Vancouver, BC, March, 17, 2023. (Rich Lam/UBC Athletics Photo) ***MANDATORY CREDIT***

“It was our ability to battle back after that first set and ability to battle in that third set against a Brock team that was playing very well,” said T-Birds head coach Doug Reimer, the most successful coach in U SPORTS women’s volleyball history. “So, what I’m really proud of is we were serving some great balls and they were passing perfectly and their offence was firring and our resilience didn’t let it distract us from our own good play.”

With the win, the T-Birds secured a spot in the semifinals where they will meet either the No. 3-seeded Mount Royal Cougars or the No. 6 Manitoba Bisons at 8:00 p.m. (Pacific) on Saturday, while Brock will play a consolation match against the loser of the Cougars vs. Bisons match at 3:00 p.m. (Pacific) on Saturday.
Mikasa Players of the Game

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