January 19, 2012, Langley, BC (ISN) – Led by Royal Richardson (Rocky Mountain House, Alta.) and Amber Brown (Three Hills, Alta.), who combined for 28 kills, the No. 2 Trinity Western women’s volleyball team made quick work of visiting Manitoba.
The Spartans take the win 3-0 (25-18, 25-17, 25-22) Friday at the Langley Events Centre.
From the first set to the third, it was the Spartans (13-2) Richardson, who finished with 15 kills and a .591 attacking percentage, and Brown, who finished with 13 kills, a match-high 12 digs and three aces, leading a TWU side that was decidedly the better team throughout. While the Spartans top two point-getters sparkled, TWU had a balanced attack that saw Amy Ott (East Selkirk, Man.) earn eight kills and five blocks and Nicole Bazin (Winnipeg) pick up six kills, with no errors, and five blocks. Setter Kelci French (Okotoks, Alta.) had 29 assists and six digs.
The Bisons (7-8), who were missing star outside hitter Rachel Cockrell (Winnipeg), were led by Taylor Pischke (Winnipeg), who had 10 kills, while Jordana Milne (Winnipeg) had five kills, with no errors, and three blocks. Crystal Mulder (Winnipeg) had a team-high eight digs while setter Christina Souza (Brasilia, Brazil) had 25 assists.
“I think offensively we did a lot of the right things,” said Spartans coach Ryan Hofer. “Our players were smart with the balls they were being given and they hit those balls hard and managed to make do with tougher ones. I thought we hit with a high kill efficiency tonight. Royal played an outstanding match. Nicole hit with great numbers. Amy was solid for us and so was Amber.
“I thought Kelci did a really good job of distributing the ball and locating it. From there, we just had to make good choices with our attacking and we did that.”
With Brown and Richardson getting off to a hot start, TWU dominated a first set in which the pair combined for nine kills and two aces. After an ace from Manitoba’s Souza tied it 4-4, TWU went on a 4-0 run that opened a lead it wouldn’t relinquish. The Spartans pushed their advantage to as much as seven points, at 14-7. A kill by the Bisons Mulder got the visitors to within three points at 18-15. But the Spartans responded with two straight points and from there, cruised to a decisive win. A kill from Brown finished the set.
In the second, the teams went back and forth up until 11-11. After that, TWU started to take over. With Brown and Richardson again leading the way – Richardson finished the set with five kills and Brown had four – the Spartans went on a 5-1 run that took TWU into the technical timeout up 16-12. After that, the Spartans continued to press, giving up only five points the rest of the way, and ran away with an eight-point win. With a cross-court roll shot from the right side, Brown once again earned the Spartans the winning point.
With Nicole Bazin serving, the Spartans opened the third set with four straight points and looked to have set an early tone. However, Manitoba was not about to go down without a fight, battling back to take a 9-8 lead. But the Spartans responded with a 6-2 run that gave TWU a lead it would take to 25 points. Manitoba got within one point at 14-13 after a Pischke kill, but the Spartans didn’t let the Bisons get any closer. Trinity Western scored four of the next five points and then hung on to win 25-22. A kill by Ott off the block earned TWU the winning point.
“I think we really keyed on their key players and we really stuck to our game plan,” Bazin said. “I think we came out unified. Last game we had a few lulls and a bit of disconnect but today we really connected and played our game.”
The Spartans and Bisons will play in rematch Saturday at 5 p.m. at the Langley Events Centre.
Game Notes: TWU finished with a .292 attacking percentage while Manitoba finished at .149…TWU had a 7.5-4 advantage in blocks…TWU had a 6-4 edge in service aces…without an ace on the night, the Spartans French remained tied for the Spartans single-season record of 36, which is also held by current TWU assistant coach Lies Reimer.