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T-Birds rebound with four set win against Mount Royal

CALGARY – The UBC Thunderbirds made amends for Friday night’s loss with a four-set victory over the host Mount Royal Cougars Saturday (18-25, 25-18, 25-17, 25-23) to earn the weekend split for their fourth victory in their last five matches.

It was a closely fought match in the early going with UBC (11-7) closing every Mount Royal (14-4) lead and vice versa. It wasn’t until late in the set the Cougars were able to find their footing and take off. 

Mount Royal boasted a .453 hitting percentage in the opening frame led by Jacob Bretton’s .750, leading the hosts to the 25-18 win.

UBC was ready at the start of the second, with Conaire Taub having another incredible performance. The first year T-Bird amassed 11 kills by the end of the second, a set his squad rebounded to win 25-18 setting the tone for the rest of the night.

Both teams got off to a slow start in the third set with messy rallies and service errors ruling the points. UBC eventually found their rhythm and were electric, gaining an 11-point lead at 21-10.

Jovan Stepanovic was the saving grace for MRU in the third, getting three consecutive kills to close the gap, but the T-Bird lead proved too elusive as the visitors took the 2-1 advantage with a 25-17 set win.

Taub and Dowhaniuk were the dynamic duo fueling UBC’s offence, putting down 18 and 14 kills, respectively. Taub also finished the night with four aces, four blocks and 11 digs. 

The fourth and final set was a back-and-forth battle with neither team able to stake out a substantial lead. MRU brought the game to a tie at 23, coming back from a three-point deficit, but conceded the match with a pair of service errors, giving the T-Birds the 25-23 win.

UBC’s victory keeps the ‘Birds in fifth place in the Canada West standings heading into another key road trip next weekend back to Cowtown where they’ll face the 8-10 Dinos.

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