Kayla Kievits, Cougar Athletics
CALGARY - The University of British Columbia Thunderbirds take a clean sweep on night one of a two-night matchup versus the Mount Royal Cougars. The teams met for game one of two on Kenyon Court tonight, and the Thunderbirds took the match in three sets. The final scores were 25-17, 20-25 and 25-15.
The Cougars star offensive player was Chantal Park racking up 13 of the teams 30 kills. The Thunderbirds Olivia Furlan and Kiera Van Ryk both scored a total of 9 out of the teams 40 kills. The Thunderbirds were more consistent in their serving with a serving percentage of 0.919 compared to the Cougars 0.865. It was small things like consistent serving that ultimately won the game for the Thunderbirds.
The Cougars were off to a rocky start in the first set as they were called out of rotation then on the net. It gave the Thunderbirds the perfect opportunity to take an early lead. The Cougars struggled to regain their ground, making serving errors and missing the court with their attacks. It opened the door for the Thunderbirds who led 16-12 at the technical timeout. The Cougars fought to get back in the set, but were unable to close the gap. The Thunderbirds took the first set 25-17.
Hoping to come back from their slow start the Cougars turned up the heat in the second set. The start of the set went point for point between the two teams. Cougars Alex Donaghy went on a serving streak taking it from a tied game to a three-point lead. The Thunderbirds called a timeout when the Cougars were up 9-6. The timeout was successful as they regained the serve. The game went back to point for point, but the Thunderbirds were able to pull ahead slightly 16-15 at the technical timeout. With a kill and an ace from Thunderbirds Olivia Furlan, they extended their lead. The Cougars called a timeout as the Thunderbirds led 20-17. The Cougars once again failed to close the gap and the Thunderbirds took the set 25-19.
The third set was sudden death for the Cougars, as the Thunderbirds led two sets to none. The set started off once again going back and forth. It wasn't until Thunderbirds Ciara Hanly went on a serving streak that they took the lead. The Thunderbirds yet again led the technical timeout 16-12. Cougars Chantal Park was a strong presence in the front row trying to keep the Cougars game alive. Unfortunately, the pressure of the sudden death set was too much for the Cougars. The Thunderbirds were more consistent, and ultimately had better ball control which led them to their third set victory, as well as the match win.
Cougars Allisa Dandenault said, "I think our passing was really good which gave us the opportunities we just didn't execute them. Going into tomorrows game we need to bring more energy in order to bounce back."
The two teams will meet again tomorrow, Dec. 2, 2017. The match happens on Kenyon Court at 5:30 p.m. The Thunderbirds were able to take tonight's match in three straight sets due to their ability to take a lead and run with it. The Cougars are looking to take these leads tomorrow in order to split the weekend.