Men’s volleyball splits home opener weekend against Mount Royal

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A nail-biting season is ahead for the men’s volleyball team as they opened their season with a win and a loss against the Mount Royal University (MRU) Cougars.

The T-Birds fell 3–2 on Friday but bounced back to win 3–1 on Saturday.

Friday’s game started off turbulent with a series of unforced errors from both teams. The score stayed close but the Cougars took the first set 25–22. The second set saw a more steady play by UBC with nine kills by Reeve Gingera and series aces by James Vincett, Nicholas Johnson and Gavin Moes. The ‘Birds earned a 28–26 second set victory.

The close scores continued into the third set as both teams fought to tie the score but MRU’s Chris Byam finished the set 25–23. In the fourth, the T-Birds had the biggest lead of the night at 18–12. They utilized the lead and took the fourth set 25–20, forcing a fifth set.

The T-Birds continued their momentum into the fifth set, where they had match point but MRU tied the score and turned the match point around, finishing the set 16–14 with back-to-back aces.

Moes and Logan Greves celebrate after a point.
Moes and Logan Greves celebrate after a point. Isa S. You / The Ubyssey

Saturday’s game saw a more consistent offence and defence from the Thunderbirds. The first set was full of back-and-forth action, but Byam led the Cougars to take the first set 25–23. The second set didn’t see a big scoring gap, but UBC pulled through with kills by Moes, Gingera and Conaire Taub who closed off the set 25–20.

MRU fought hard in the third set but the back-to-back blocks by Moes and Vincett gave the team momentum, giving UBC the third set 25–23. The momentum for the ‘Birds continued, and the Thunderbirds took the lead at 24–16 through an eight point series of kills by Gingera and Taub. MRU tried to come back but Gingera concluded the game with a kill 25–19.

The weekend opener saw an exceptional performance from second year outside hitter Gingera, who led the team with 42 kills and boasted 15 digs over both games.

“I think we were just undisciplined with our game plan yesterday,” said UBC head coach Mike Hawkins after Saturday’s game. “[Today], we just made the right decisions at the right time and were just a little bit more disciplined.”

Hawkins is keen on the team’s in-system and out-of-system improvements for the next games.

“Mount Royal did a good job defending us in-system this weekend, so we know that we’ve got the opportunity with the bye [week] to go back on the drawing board and work on some things before we head out east to Winnipeg,” he said.

The Thunderbirds will travel to face the University of Winnipeg Wesmen on November 3 and 4.

“[Today], we just made the right decisions at the right time," said Hawkins.
“[Today], we just made the right decisions at the right time," said Hawkins. Maya Rochon / The Ubyssey