HAMILTON, Ontario (ISN) – The Canada West bronze medalist Trinity Western women’s volleyball team lost its CIS national championship quarter-final match against Quebec champion Montreal 3-1 (25-22, 11-25, 25-21, 25-23) Friday afternoon at Burridge Gymnasium and will now play the rest of the tournament on the consolation side.
The Spartans will play Saturday at 1:00 p.m. in the consolation semifinal against the loser of the UBC and Queen’s quarter-final match. The best Trinity Western can finish now is fifth.
Montreal will play in the championship semifinal Saturday at 6:00 p.m.
Championship website: http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/wvball/index
The Spartans statistically out-played the Carabins – finishing with a .161 hitting percentage and 47 kills compared to Montreal’s .072 percentage and 29 kills – but were plagued by serving errors all afternoon, finishing with 20 errors in four sets, and simply couldn’t overcome their struggles at the line despite a valiant effort.
Montreal was led by Marie-Sophie Nadeau, who had 14 kills, nine digs and two blocks, Sophie Bergeron-Leblanc, who had six kills, five digs and two aces, and Gabrielle Vallee-Vachon, who had a team-high six blocks.
Trinity Western was led by Royal Richardson, who had 15 kills, four blocks and two aces, while Amy Leschied had 10 kills, 10 digs and three blocks and Alicia Perrin had nine kills, six blocks and two aces.
“It’s tough to play a team like this in the first round but I thought the team was prepared and I thought the things we were doing to put them in trouble were working but we just didn’t execute some stuff on our side,” said Spartans coach Ryan Hofer. “There is a lot of weight in this game in regards to the serve pass. Without question you have to win those two battles or at least do very well in them. And we struggled in that area, especially the serving. It’s tough to say it but that’s what it came down to.”
The Carabins were the aggressors early on as they raced out to an 11-6 lead in the first set and forced Trinity Western into a timeout. Out of the break the Spartans earned four straight points, thanks in large part to a strong serving run from Amber Brown, to claw back to within one at 11-10.
But with the score tied 16-16, Montreal took over and did so for good.
The Carabins went on a 5-0 run, capped by a monster block that gave Montreal a 21-16 lead.
Trinity Western responded with a 4-1 run but after closing the gap to two points at 22-20, Montreal’s Sophie Bergeron-Leblanc earned a kill to reestablish the Carabins three-point lead. From there, the teams traded points with Montreal ultimately taking the set 25-22.
Montreal’s Nadeau led the Carabins with four kills while Trinity Western’s Richardson replied with four of her own for the Spartans.
In the second set, the Spartans turned the tides completely.
After a Chelsea Hudson ace gave Trinity Western its first lead of the match at 2-1, the Spartans took off.
Trinity Western raced out to an 8-3 lead and then after re-establishing its five-point edge at 11-6, it was Montreal forced into taking a timeout. However, out of the timeout, Trinity Western kept pushing. The Spartans, riding four-kill efforts from both Richardson and Leschied, never let up as they ran away with the set, winning 25-11.
The Spartans finished the set hitting .333 while Montreal hit -.136.
With momentum on their side Trinity Western came out in the third set and quickly built an 11-5 lead. But then Montreal launched what would turn out to be set-turning, and match-turning, comeback.
After an ace by Bergeron-Leblanc, the Carabins tied it 14-14.
The Spartans opened a two-point lead at 19-17 after a Kelci French kill but then, once again, the Carabins roared back, scoring six straight points, to make it 23-19. The teams traded points the rest of the way with Montreal winning 25-21.
In the fourth set, Montreal came out flying and opened a 9-2 lead. And from there, it looked like the Carabins were going to take the set in a route. But with the score 17-11, the Spartans battled back.
Led by Perrin, who was suddenly dominant on the step-around, Trinity Western slowly pulled itself back in the game, eventually tying it up 20-20.
But, as had been the case for much of the match, it was missed serves that undid the Spartans.
Trinity Western had three serving errors amongst Montreal’s final four points and, in the end, it was a serving error that cost the Spartans the final point and gave the Carabins a 25-23 win.