UBC Thunderbirds upend Manitoba Bisons in tense semifinal showdown
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The UBC Thunderbirds rallied to upend the Manitoba Bisons 20-25, 25-20, 25-16, 25-14 in a tense semifinal showdown at the U Sports Women’s Volleyball Championship in Vancouver Saturday night.
With the victory, the seventh-seeded T-Birds will play for their 13th national title on home court against the No. 1-ranked Trinity Western Spartans today at 6:30 p.m. CST.
Trinity Western, No. 1 ranked and the defending national champion, will be looking for its ninth U Sports crown. The Spartans defeated the No. 5 Dalhousie Tigers 25-21, 25-17, 25-12 in Saturday’s other semifinal.
Sixth-seeded Manitoba will take on Dalhousie in today’s bronze-medal match at 4 p.m. CST.
Action can be viewed live at cbc.ca.
Jayde Robertson led UBC with four aces, 14 kills and seven assisted blocks, while Erika Vermette of Morris supplied five kills, three aces and 11 digs.
The Bisons were led by national rookie of the year Raya Surinx, who had 14 kills and 13 digs.
Left side Ella Gray added 11 kills while setter Katreena Bentley, named Manitoba’s player of the match, had 37 assists and 10 digs and libero Julia Arnold added five assists and 22 digs.
“They served the ball well and put us in trouble on receive,” Manitoba head coach Ken Bentley told gobisons.ca. “We were just out of system too much in that match. Credit to them, they did a really good job at the service line. We just didn’t hold up well enough there.”
The match was the first between the two programs at nationals since 2014, when the Herd swept UBC in the gold-medal match. It was also the first time UBC had beaten the Bisons this year. Manitoba upended in the Canada West quarter-finals.
“I thought our fight was unbelievable,” said Bentley. “Even though we were down, we just kept scraping and got real close in that third set. We were just inches away from making that a real game in that third set. That was a tough one, because we were just nipping back there.”