February 14, 2013, Langley, BC (ISN) – For the second year in a row, the Trinity Western women’s volleyball team will play Calgary in the Canada West quarter-finals, with the Spartans hosting the Dinos in the best-of-three series Thursday, Friday and, if necessary, Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.
Game times on Thursday and Friday are at 6 p.m. and, if necessary, on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. If the Spartans men’s volleyball best-of-three series against Winnipeg doesn’t require a third match, Saturday’s women’s game will be played at 2:30 p.m.
All matches can be seen on www.canadawest.tv.
When Calgary and TWU played earlier this season, it was TWU winning 3-1 and 3-0 at the LEC.
TRINITY WESTERN SPARTANS (19-3)
CIS ranking: No. 2
Canada West position: 2nd
Last Weekend: Alberta 3-1 L, 3-2 W
Streak: 1 win
2011-12 Canada West record: 13-7 (4th)
2012 CW playoffs: 3-1 (3rd)
2012 CIS tournament: 2-1 (5th)
When the Spartans host Calgary in this weekend’s playoff bout, they are hoping to repeat history. Since TWU moved its home games to the Langley Events Centre in 2009, the Spartans are a perfect 6-0 against the Dinos on home court, including last year’s Canada West quarter-final playoff series. In fact, in each of their three meetings at the LEC, the Spartans have won 3-1 on the first night and 3-0 on the second night.
Coming off a win over No. 6 Alberta in the season finale, the Spartans enter the playoffs with plenty of confidence, yet are well aware of the dangers the Dinos possess. While the Spartans managed to knock off Calgary in three sets in their last meeting, in each set, TWU had to rally from five points down and twice needed to go beyond 25 points to earn wins. But, then again, having lost just three matches all year and being ranked No. 2 in the country, the Spartans certainly enter this weekend’s series as the heavy favourite.
The Spartans have largely been a dominant side throughout the year, with only three losses in 22 matches, but have been particularly strong on home court, where they went 11-0 and not once were forced into a fifth set.
This season, the Spartans strength has been their ability to limit the opposition’s attack as they held their opponents to a league-low 0.92 hitting percentage. The Spartans also led the conference in blocks with 2.63 per set, were second in digs, with 14.0 per set, and second in service aces, with 2.37 per set. Offensively, TWU averaged 11.23 kills per set (3rd in Canada West) and a .205 hitting percentage (4th in CW).
Individually, the Spartans were led by Alicia Perrin (Creston, B.C.), who was third in the conference in hitting percentage, .336, second in blocks, with 1.31 per set, and ninth in points, with 3.57 per set. Fellow middle Nicole Bazin (Winnipeg) wasn’t far behind as she averaged a .290 hitting percentage (8th in CW) and 1.09 blocks per set (5th in CW). Setter Kelci French (Okotoks, Alta.) led the team with 8.80 assists per set (6th in CW) and 0.53 aces per set (tied for 1st in CW). Amber Brown (Three Hills, Alta.) led the team in kills with 2.64 per set.
During the regular season, the Spartans only lost to teams who are currently ranked in the CIS Top 10, having dropped matches against current No. 1 UBC, No. 6 Alberta and No. 9 UBC Okanagan.
CALGARY DINOS (11-11)
CIS ranking: NR
Canada West position: 7th
Last Weekend: Regina 3-0 W, 3-1 W
Streak: 2 wins
2011-12 Canada West record: 11-9 (5th)
2012 CW playoffs: 0-2
2012 CIS tournament: N/A
The Dinos enter the playoffs looking to do something they have never done before: win at the Langley Events Centre. And, in this case, win two out of three matches.
Having lost all six matches against TWU since the Spartans moved to the LEC and having yet to even force a fifth set, the visitors will need to turn things around this weekend if they are to pull off the upset victory.
However, the Dinos are coming off a pair of wins over Regina in their season-ending weekend that saw them hold the Cougars to less than 20 points in five of their six set wins. Prior to that, besides back-to-back losses to TWU, the Dinos put together a solid second semester, if not in their results, at least in terms of their play. Calgary opened the semester with a split against No. 6 Alberta and then lost a pair of five-setters on the road against now No. 9 UBC Okanagan.
The key for Calgary this weekend, as has been the case all year, is to impose their dynamic offence. Through the regular season, the Dinos were second only to No. 1 ranked UBC in terms of their attack, as they averaged a .223 hitting percentage over 85 sets. The Dinos also averaged 11.91 kills per set, which was fourth best in the conference.
On the block, Calgary also had a dominant campaign in which they averaged 2.58 blocks per set; a mark that, within the conference, was bettered only by TWU’s 2.63 per set.
Individually, Calgary’s Courtney Dawson has been a standout in a similar fashion to that of the Spartans Alicia Perrin. Dawson finished the season with a .333 hitting percentage, which was good for fourth in the conference and just one spot behind Perrin, while on the block, it was the Calgary middle edging Perrin, as Dawson earned a conference-best 1.36 blocks per set.
The Dinos offence has been led by Lindsay Doland, who averaged 2.83 kills per set (9th in Canada West), while it was setter Jordhynn Guy who was the quarterback for the Dinos impressive attack as she averaged 8.96 assists per set (5th in CW).
Like the last time TWU played Calgary, earlier this year, the Dinos will be forced to play without the injured Sarah Moncks, who, this year, averaged 2.72 kills per set (10th in CW) and 3.01 digs per set (7th in CW).
Including last year’s playoff wins, the Dinos have lost seven matches in a row at TWU, dating back to a five-set win on Oct. 31, 2008.