UBC men's volleyball team wins first national championship in 35 years

Mar 18 2018, 10:35 pm

It’s been a long time coming.

The UBC Thunderbirds are national champions in men’s volleyball, after a straight sets upset win over top-ranked, two-time defending champion Trinity Western University on Sunday.

Not only were none of UBC’s players born the last time the school won U Sports gold in men’s volleyball, neither were any of the coaches.

After taking the first two sets, No. 3 ranked UBC battled back from down 22-19, chipping away to tie the set at 23. Then down 25-24, they fought back once again, scoring on match point to win 27-25 – sending the team into a frenzy.

The 3-0 (25-22, 25-18, 27-25) win over cross-town rivals, played at McMaster University in Hamilton, gave UBC their first title since 1983. It followed a semi-final win over No. 2 ranked Alberta – the same team that beat them in the Canada West playoffs.

Surrey’s Byron Keturakis was named tournament MVP.

“It feels pretty amazing,” said team captain Irvan Brar. “We had a pretty solid game plan and we were confident coming into this game,” he said, adding that they were surprised to defeat Trinity Western in straight sets.

“I’m overwhelmed with pride, I’m just so happy for this group,” said head coach Kerry MacDonald. “These guys have worked so hard and really committed to everything we’ve been trying to do with this program since I came on.”

UBC got good news on the women’s side as well on Sunday, as the third-ranked T-Birds captured bronze with a four-set win (27-25, 19-25, 25-19, 25-16) over No. 1 ranked Calgary.

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