Louie Villanueva

To kill a Thunderbird: Dinos top UBC

By Scott Strasser, February 5 2015 —

The Dinos women’s volleyball team secured a spot in the Canada West playoffs after they swept the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds on Jan. 30 and 31 in their last two games of the regular season. Both matches ended with a final score of 3–1.

The weekend leaves the Dinos in fourth place in the Canada West Conference with a 14–10 record. The top seven teams make the playoffs.

The Dinos showed their strength in game one, overcoming the Thunderbirds in four close sets (25–20, 25–22, 20–25, 25–22).

“We followed and executed our game plan and never strayed from it,” said Dinos head coach Natalie Gurnsey. “We knew where to expose some of their weaknesses. We needed to serve really tough against these guys and I feel we did that.”

Second-year middle Jaylynn Moffatt was the biggest offensive threat for the Dinos, recording 20 kills. First-year middle Beth Vinnell and first-year outside hitter Kate Pexman also chipped in with double-digit kills, Vinnell getting 15 and Pexman getting 12.

The best players for the Thunderbirds were right side Rosie Schlagintweit and left side Lisa Barclay. The two fifth-years both registered 19 kills, with Barclay getting six digs.

On the defensive side, fifth-year libero Amber Brown was key to the Dinos’ victory, registering a game-high 16 digs.

“Our libero was solid, coming up with big digs when we needed it,” Gurnsey said.

The first set was close. The Dinos serving game was on point, with Vinnell getting three aces. Down 17–15, the Dinos found their rhythm, going on an 8–0 run. They won the first set 25–20 with Moffatt getting seven kills.

The second set was as close as the  first. With the set tied at 20, the Dinos again finished strong, winning 25–20. Brown stood out defensively, with seven digs by the end of the second set.  

The Thunderbirds came out hard in the third, determined to not finish the night empty handed. They led throughout much of the set, with Barclay and Schlagintweit both scoring kills. The Dinos never fell far behind, however, with Pexman having a particularly strong set. The Dinos came back from 18–13 to tie the set 20–20. The Thunderbirds finished strong with Barclay scoring the last three points to win 25–20.

The Dinos got their revenge in the fourth, eager to prevent the game from entering a fifth set. Taking an early 6–1 lead, the Dinos remained in front until the Thunderbirds tied the set at 13. It was tight the rest of the way, before the Dinos killed the game to win 25–22.

In match two, the Dinos won again in four sets (25–21, 25–14, 19–25, 26–24) to secure their place in the playoffs. Third-year outside hitter Ali Wooley scored a game-high 17 kills and seven digs for the Dinos.

Next weekend is the last of the Canada West regular season. The Dinos have a bye, meaning their final place in the standings is still to be determined.

“We’re in a good position where we have two weeks to prepare for our quarter final,” Gurnsey said. “We get two weeks to make our system work like clockwork. That’s what gives us confidence — when we’re crisp and on task and play one point at a time.”

Playoffs take place on Feb. 13–15, with the location yet to be determined.

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