January 11, 2013, LANGLEY, BC (ISN) – The No. 4 Trinity Western women’s volleyball team got off to a strong start to open the second semester as it knocked off Brandon 3-1 (25-17, 21-25, 25-15, 25-18) Thursday at the Langley Events Centre.
After Brandon (5-8) used a late run to nab the second set and tie the match 1-1, the Spartans (11-2) turned their game up a few more notches and the result was a pair of team-oriented dominant third and fourth set wins that improved TWU’s home record to 6-0.
The Spartans were led offensively by Amber Brown (Three Hills, Alta.) and Royal Richardson (Rocky Mountain House, Alta.), who each had 13 kills while Brown added 11 digs and Richardson contributed 10. Setter Kelci French (Okotoks, Alta.) filled the stat line as she had 35 assists to go with four aces, eight blocks and eight digs. Amy Ott (East Selkirk, Man.) added nine kills and four blocks while Nicole Bazin (Winnipeg) and Alicia Perrin (Creston, B.C.) each had six blocks. Kristen Moncks (Standard, Alta.) had a match-high 13 digs.
For the Bobcats, Shanlee McLennan (Winnipeg) had a match-high 15 kills to go with 10 digs, while Victoria Dakin (Calgary) and Chloe Reimer (Sanford, Man.) had seven kills each. Kendra Libero Bommersbach (Winnipeg) had a team-high 12 digs while setter Kellie Baker (Brandon, Man.) had 32 assists.
“Coming off the Christmas break, we’ve worked hard to prepare for this match and I was very pleased with how my team played,” said Spartans coach Ryan Hofer. “I was happy with how we came out and competed. I thought we let up a little bit in that second set but overall I was very pleased with our play, especially with how we served.
“We have some bodies that aren’t quite as healthy as we’d like, so we needed others to pick up their games around them. I thought our outside hitters did a great job, including Royal (Richardson), Amber (Brown), Amy (Ott) and I thought Nicole (Bazin) went out there and did a good job as well.”
After a tight start to the opening set, with the score 7-7, the Spartans started to take control. With a kill from Richardson, TWU launched a block-heavy 7-1 run, capped by a French ace that gave the home side a 14-8 lead. The Spartans, who hit .467 in the set, pushed that advantage to as much as eight points, at 19-11, and then traded points down the stretch en route to a 25-17 win.
The Spartans took an early lead in the second set, going up 10-5, but the Bobcats clawed right back with a 7-2 run that tied the set 12-12. Shortly thereafter, however, TWU pulled ahead again, going up 19-16 after a Bazin kill. But then, with the Spartans lead at 21-18, Brandon roared back. The Bobcats, hitting .429 for the set, scored seven straight points and with an ace from Meaghan Robertson stunned a back-peddling Spartans side 25-21.
“That second set loss was mostly just because of a lack of mental focus, especially on my part, when we had the lead late,” French said. “I just have to learn how to not let those late runs happen and not let those mental errors slip in.”
In the third set, Brandon took a quick 5-3 lead, but after that it was all Spartans. Trinity Western went on 12-1 run, one that included lengthy serving runs from both Alicia Perrin and French, that gave the Spartans a 15-6 lead. The Bobcats never got closer than six points and the Spartans rolled to a 10-point win. An ace from Carly Hamilton (Calgary) capped the set.
With momentum entirely on the Spartans side, the fourth set was all TWU. The Spartans took a 7-4 lead early and then, with the score 10-7, put the game out of reach with a 6-1 run. With a variety pack of scoring styles, the Spartans ran away with the set – opening up as much as an 11-point lead at 21-10 – and cruised to a 25-18 win.
The two teams will meet in a rematch Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at the Langley Events Centre.
Game Notes: French now has 34 aces on the season, which has her just two aces shy of the Spartans season record of 36, set by current assistant coach Lies Reimer in 2001-02…TWU finished with a .268 hitting percentage while Brandon finished at .095…TWU had a 14-7 blocking advantage…TWU had 8 aces to Brandon’s 3.