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T-Birds dominate from the service line en route to weekend series sweep vs Dinos

The UBC Thunderbirds were dominant from the service line recording 16 total aces en route to downing the Calgary Dinos 3-1 (25-16, 25-16, 24-26, 25-9) at War Memorial Gym Saturday night to sweep the weekend series while improving to 11-1 on the Canada West season.

Fourth-year outside hitter Katarina Pantovic dominated the score sheet for the ‘Birds with 13 kills and two aces, while teammate Lucy Borowski racked up 11 kills and five aces. Elisabeth Lee added nine kills and three aces.

“We have some tough servers, I think that’s part of the reason they had trouble scoring,” said UBC head coach Doug Reimer. “Overall, very happy with the vast majority of our play,” added Reimer.

Calgary’s third year outside hitter, Sofie Reed, led in kills for the Dinos with eight, while teammate and fellow outside hitter Dominique Desautels added six kills with an ace. Middle Blocker, Sam Silva had a solid performance at the net for the Dinos with six recorded blocks. In comparison the visitors managed four aces on the evening in falling to 4-8 on the campaign.

Borowski started the night’s first set and the opening T-Bird possession with a hat trick of aces, but a steady supply of Calgary blocks from Sam Silva and Evelyn Kath kept the Dinos trailing by only a handful of points. Near the middle of the set, a flurry of kills by the ‘Birds Pantovic and Lee forced the Dinos into a timeout with the frame slipping away from Calgary at 16-9. After the pause the T-Birds took control with Pantovic racking up four kills taking the set out of reach for Calgary. Lee added three kills and Borowski contributed another service ace to complete a quad of aces.


The Birds stacked up points early in the second set from all corners of the court, with a booming Borowski kill swiftly making the score 7-1. The Dinos countered with a handful of kills and another powerful block from Silva, killing the UBC hot streak, but hope for Calgary was short lived. Danielle Price and Ella Ungemach continued a standout performance at the net with strong blocking, forcing another Calgary timeout with the game handily 12-5 for the home team. The Dinos timeout proved fruitless with UBC continuing a dominant performance ending with a Calgary error at the net to give the ‘Birds their second set win.

The Dinos entered the third set looking like a new team as the teams went point for point with Calgary’s Sofie Reed accumulating kills and making the score 12-12. Pantovic, however, would not be rattled and continued to attack the net for the ‘Birds, chalking up multiple kills and a service ace, shifting the momentum toward the home team late in the frame. With the game at 21-20 after a crushing block by the Dinos Evelyn Kath and Silva, the T-Birds regrouped with a timeout. After the break Calgary tied the game with the T-Birds failing to dig a slow ball from the net. A tight rally with a crushing kill made the score 24-23, but with a match point in their hands, UBC managed a net violation and a relentless digging effort by the Dinos earned them a set point which they capitalized on to take the game to a fourth set.


Dinos Libero, Michela Alongi, was put to work early in the fourth set with Borowski and Emma Doyon relentlessly attacking the right side of the net with crushing kills, a few glimmers of hope from a solid blocking game by Calgary’s Silva and Kath and Reed in the air but after another Borowski kill to make the game 5-3, the ‘Birds rolled with the momentum until a match point with Issy Robertshaw serving an ace for another T-Birds win. 

“Our response in set four was very good,” added Reimer. “We’ll be able to learn some things looking at what we could have done to get us in better flow,” added Reimer.

The ‘Birds are on the road after the extended Christmas break for back-to-back meetings vs the UBCO Heat beginning Friday evening January 5th at 5:00 p.m. in Kelowna.

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