DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics
The Winnipeg Wesmen served up an upset on opening night in the Canada West.
The Wesmen men's volleyball team got 16 kills and a sparkling .500 attack percentage from right side Daniel Thiessen and knocked off the UBC Thunderbirds 3-1 (29-27, 18-25, 25-18, 25-17) Saturday night at the Duckworth Centre in the conference-opener for both teams.
The T-Birds were ranked fourth in the conference coaches' poll released earlier this week and the Wesmen, who missed the post-season in 2018-19, seventh.
Thiessen also had four aces for the Wesmen, who hit .542 in the clinching fourth set and .346 for the match. Sophomore left side Nigel Nielsen, making just his second career start, added nine kills on 18 swings and Middle blocker Keegan Teetaert added five kills on 10 swings with only one error.
"Our team has a tremendous amount of depth with all the new players coming in," Teetaert said. "Every year you want to do better, every year you want to push harder and work harder and get to that ultimate goal."
Libero Darian Picklyk had a team-high seven digs for Winnipeg (1-0).
Coltyn Liu and Matt Neaves both had 16 kills for UBC, which lost despite hitting .398 for the match. It was the first time since Jan. 13, 2017 the Thunderbirds hit over .300 for a match and lost. Liu was responsible for 10 of the T-Birds' 30 service errors.
Jordan Deshane added nine kills on 12 swings with one error for the Thunderbirds (0-1).
"Really from our last pre-season tournament and a couple weeks in I would say we were serving quite well," UBC head coach Mike Hawkins said. "We're an aggressive serving team so there's going to be times where we string a couple misses in a row. Where I thought we faltered was just the mental ability to just reset and take that serve as an independent point and not worry about what happened prior to that serve. That is the only skill we have complete control over and I think we just allowed the negative thoughts to creep into our mind a little too much."