T-Birds sweep Spartans to celebrate Pride Night weekend

UBC women’s volleyball defeated the Trinity Western University Spartans in four sets on Friday to celebrate Pride Night. With a close five-set win the day before, UBC swept the weekend series for their eighth time this season.

For UBC’s sixth annual Pride Night, the War Memorial Gym was decorated with Pride flags and attendees dressed in their finest rainbow fashion.

The first set saw UBC get an early lead off of kills and a TWU attack error, but a kill by Spartan Kaylee Plouffe gave the team momentum to tie the score up. Points were traded until a Lucy Borowski kill and two TWU errors gave the team a leg up 14–18 going into a TWU timeout. The momentum couldn’t be ripped from UBC’s hands, and a TWU service error brought the team to 24–17. An ace from defensive specialist Victoria D’Acre sealed the deal for the ‘Birds 25–17.

Borowski had a good showing early in the second set with four kills before either team reached ten points. TWU fought to get a lead but were unable to recoup their losses. UBC maintained a lead the entire set with setter Issy Robertshaw leading the offence. The Thunderbirds clinched the second set after two Kylee Glanville kills, a middle kill by Jocelyn Lenarcic and a Trinity Solecki kill, 25–15.

TWU dominated early in the third set, capitalizing off a kill and four UBC attack errors, forcing UBC to take a timeout. Spartan attack errors and a D’Acre ace brought UBC back in the game, 13–11. The Thunderbirds gained momentum off a Solecki kill and service ace, giving them heat as the Spartans made their way to 20 points. Second-year outside hitter Elizabeth Lee was the changemaker this set, forcing a tie at 22-all with a kill for the first time since the start of the set. Two TWU kills and a Lee attack error gave TWU the set, 25–22.

Akash Grewal goes for the block.
Akash Grewal goes for the block. Isa S. You / The Ubyssey

Both teams traded points in the fourth set until two TWU service aces forced a UBC timeout. The break proved successful for the Thunderbirds who made their way to a tie thanks to a series of tricky plays. The first point after the timeout, a Robertshaw setter dump had the crowd roaring, followed by a well-placed tip from Lenarcic, two aces from Vermette and a successful joust at the net from Robertshaw. Despite this momentum, the teams went back-and-forth until a series of errors from UBC gave TWU a lead 21–17. But the ‘Birds came out on top with gym-shaking kills from Solecki and Claire Cossarini. A dig from D’Acre gave Lee a silky set from setter Gisella Goodger, winning the last set for UBC, 25–22.

Borowski dominated the court with 17 kills, 3 blocks and an ace, while Vermette and Lee followed closely behind with 6 kills. Grewal added five kills and three aces while Cossarini put up seven blocks.

UBC head coach Doug Reimer commended the team’s depth throughout the match.

“Just the number of players that were playing, and the number of ‘non-starters’ that were in, playing absolutely key roles right at the end of the match,” said Reimer. “That's 100 per cent a team win.”

Borowski, who led both teams in kills, agreed.

“It was a real team effort this weekend and we had a lot of people come in and make a huge difference,” said Borowski. “Obviously, it's great to win two games, but we know that this night is bigger than ourselves and it's amazing to create a space that's inclusive and everybody can be themselves.”

After the game, Reimer thanked the Vancouver Gay Volleyball Association, the UBC Pride Collective and QMUNITY for supporting Pride Night.

“It’s a wonderful thing if we can even provide a measure of support [to the 2SLGBTQIA+ community],” he said.

Libero Kacey Jost — who was given the Sandy Silver Award after the game for her commitment to social justice — said Pride Night is “a really important moment to consider how you can be an ally to communities.”

“When you have some sort of social power, you have to do something with it,” said Jost. “If we can at least create one space where anybody can come and enjoy sport, I think we're doing something right.”

“We're really, really proud to be allies.”