LANGLEY, British Columbia – The Trinity Western women’s volleyball team got its third win of the season as they knocked off Regina 3-1 (25-23, 23-25, 25-15, 25-19) in the Spartans home-opener Friday at the Langley Events Centre.
The Spartans, led by second-year Royal Richardson, who had a game-high 16 kills, rallied from a late four-point deficit to win the opening set and then, after dropping a tight second set, dominated in the third and then took the match with a decisive fourth.
After Richardson, it was Alicia Perrin and Amy Leschied each with 12 kills for the Spartans while Chelsea Hudson had 40 assists.
The Cougars were led by Roxanne Olynyk, who had 12 kills and nine digs, and Meagan Onstad, who had 10 kills and nine digs. Setter Tiffany Herman had 40 assists.
The win improves the Spartans record to 3-2 while the loss drops Regina to 2-5.
“We reduced our errors,” said Spartans coach Ryan Hofer, whose team had just 16 attack errors compared to 28 in its last game against Brandon. “We did a good job of making sure we made smart choices with the balls that were set. Chelsea Hudson did a really good job of distributing the ball and we followed the game plan. Royal and Alicia did a great job tonight. I think our setters did a great job. It was a real team effort tonight.
“[Regina] has some talented ball players and we had to find ways to slow them down and contain them and I thought our girls did a good job of that.”
The Cougars got off to a quick start in the opening set as they took an early 6-2 lead before the Spartans found their feet. Sparked by a Perrin kill, the Spartans rallied to make it 8-8 as the contest stayed tight up until 15-15.
But the Cougars then went on a 4-0 run that gave them a 19-15 lead and seemingly the game’s momentum. But with the score still a four-point contest at 21-17, the Spartans roared back and, after a timeout, went on a 8-4 run, led by three kills from Richardson, to take the set 25-23.
Trinity Western started the second set much sharper than the first, taking a 5-3 lead, but Regina came right back to tie it 5-5 and from there never allowed the Spartans a lead the rest of the set.
The Cougars pushed ahead at the technical timeout 16-11 after back-to-back service aces from Olynyk.
After the timeout, the Spartans earned three straight points to make it 16-14 but, the Cougars quickly extended their lead once again to four points at 19-15.
While the Spartans, much like the first set, came back to tie it 20-20 and 21-21, a momentum-swinging block from Regina’s Olynyk and Solveig Nilson on Trinity Western’s Perrin gave the Cougars a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
An error by Trinity Western at 24-22 gave the Cougars the win as they tied the match 1-1.
In the third set, the Spartans raced out to an early 6-2 lead and, really, never looked back.
Regina got it to within three points at 8-5 but then Trinity Western, with Perrin, Richardson and Kelci French leading the attack, went on an 8-1 run to bust the game open 16-6 at the technical timeout.
With a .478 hitting percentage in the set, the Spartans rolled to a 25-15 win.
In the fourth set, much like the second and third sets, the Spartans were the better team in the opening stages as they took a 4-1 lead following Perrin’s 11th kill of the match.
The Cougars responded with a 4-1 of their own run to tie the game 5-5 but the Spartans got the next two points to regain their lead and Regina was unable to garner any sort of advantage on the scoreboard.
Regina managed to get it as close as 14-13 midway through the set but the Spartans got six of the next nine points to build a 20-16 lead and an advantage they would take to the finish, winning 25-19.
Trinity Western hit .433 in the fourth set compared to Regina’s .125.
The two teams will meet in a rematch Saturday at 5:00 p.m. at the Langley Events Centre.
Game Notes – The Spartans finished with a .322 attacking percentage while Regina was .153 on the night…TWU had 12 blocks to Regina’s five.