U Sports Roundup: T-Birds knock off top-ranked team in women's volleyball

EDMONTON — The top-seeded Trinity Western Spartans have made an early exit at the U Sports women's volleyball championship.

The No. 8 UBC Thunderbirds edged their provincial rivals 3-2 (25-23, 27-25, 23-25, 23-25, 26-24) in the opening quarterfinal of the event on Friday.

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National player of the year Kiera Van Ryk led the Thunderbirds with a career-high 32 kills, while Victoria Behie and Tessa Davis had 12 apiece.

Hilary Howe led the Spartans with 18 kills.

"It's unbelievable," UBC coach Doug Reimer said. "I've been around this game a long time. Been part of a lot of great games, but I don't think I’ve ever been part of a game like this.

"There was no quit in either team. A game like this is what you train for, and you have to feel so much gratitude that you come out on the positive side of a game like this."

UBC has given Trinity Western problems during the 2018-19 campaign, snapping a Spartans 16-match win streak earlier this season.

The Thunderbirds will face Dalhousie in the semifinals after the No. 4 Tigers swept the No. 5 Montreal Carabins 3-0 (25-19, 25-23, 25-16).

Julie Moore led the Halifax-based victors with 12 kills.

The host Alberta Pandas also pulled off an upset as the No. 7 seed advanced to the semifinals with a 3-1 win (23-25, 25-14, 25-22, 25-19) over the No. 2 Toronto Varsity Blues.

Kory White had 30 kills for Alberta.

The Pandas will take on No. 6 Ryerson in the semis after the Rams beat the Calgary Dinos 3-0 (25-21, 25-15, 25-21.

WOMEN'S HOCKEY

CHARLOTTETOWN — Alexandra Poznikoff scored two goals, including the game-winner, as the top-seeded Alberta Pandas edged the No. 8 Toronto Varsity Blues 3-2 in quarterfinal action at the U Sports women's hockey championship on Friday.

Taylor Kezama also scored for the Pandas.

Lauren Straatman and Taylor Trussler scored for Toronto.

"We knew it was going to be a tough game," said Poznikoff, the national player of the year. "Teams talk and they say (the Varsity Blues are) aggressive and play the body and we were expecting that. We just gritted it out and it wasn't pretty, but we got the job done."

Alberta will meet McGill in a Saturday semifinal after the No. 5 Martlets crushed the No. 4 St. Thomas Tommies 10-2.

Lea Tommais had a hat trick for McGill, while Kellyane Lecours had two goals and three assists.

No. 3 Guelph will take on No. 2 Montreal in the other semifinal.

MEN'S HOCKEY

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. — The No. 2 New Brunswick Varsity Reds trimmed the No. 7 Carleton Ravens 2-1 in quarterfinal play at the U Sports men's hockey championship on Friday.

Tyler Boland and Matt Boudens scored for the Varsity Reds, while Matthew Forchuk replied for the Ravens.

New Brunswick outshot Carleton 38-23. Strong goaltending from former Ottawa Senators draft pick Francois Brassard helped keep the Ravens within striking distance.

"This time of the year, it is about trying to be one goal better," said Varsity Reds head coach Gardiner MacDougall. "Obviously, a good scare is a lot better than a good loss. I think the group found a way, and a crucial part is when you can score first — that is the key for the confidence level of any team."

New Brunswick will face St. Francis Xavier in a semifinal after the No. 6 X-Men rallied from a 3-0 deficit to beat the No. 3 Queen's Gaels 5-3.

Holden Cook led the X-Men with two goals.

No. 5 Saskatchewan and No. 1 Alberta will square off in Saturday's other semifinal.

MEN'S VOLLEYBALL

QUEBEC CITY — The top-seeded Brandon Bobcats cruised to a 3-0 win (25-17, 25-20, 25-23) over the No. 8 Montreal Carabins in the opening quarterfinal of the U Sports men's volleyball championship on Friday.

Robin Baghdady led the offence for the Bobcats with 11 kills, a hitting percentage of .400 and five digs. Setter Gabriel Chancy was the player of the match for Montreal with 32 of his team's 34 assists.

"It was a see-saw battle at times, but our guys stuck with it and stayed calm when things weren't going our way and found a way put us over the top," said Brandon head coach Grant Wilson. "Our goal is to be better every time we step on the floor and if you look at the potential opponents down the road, we're going to need to be better."

Brandon will face Alberta in a semifinal after the No. 5 Golden Bears beat the No. 4 Mount Royal Cougars 3-0 (26-24, 25-18, 25-23).

Taryq Sani had 18 kills to lead Alberta, while Tyler Schmidt had 11 for Mount Royal.

"It feels really good. I was expecting a tough start to the game as we've had two weeks off," said Golden Bears associate head coach Brock Davidiuk. "But our players quickly found their bearings. We were excellent when we needed to be. The ice is broken, but we'll have to be at our best against Brandon."

In the third quarterfinal, the No. 2 Trinity Western Spartans downed the No. 7 McMaster Marauders 3-1 (25-15, 27-25, 17-25, 25-17).

Eric Loeppky had a team-high 12 kills for the Spartans.

Trinity Western will face the host Laval Rouge et Or in the other semifinal.

No. 3 Laval edged the No. 6 Queen's Gaels 3-2 (25-22, 23-25, 25-22, 23-25, 15-12) in the final quarterfinal.

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