Brown Leads TWU to Four-Set Win Over Calgary; Spartans Advance to Final Four

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February 16, 2013, Langley, BC (ISN) – With Amber Brown (Three Hills, Alta.) collecting a record-setting 23 kills, the No. 2 Trinity Western women’s volleyball team knocked off Calgary.

Friday at the Langley Events Centre the Spartans completed the best-of-three series sweep over the Dinos in the Canada West quarter-final and advance to the Canada West Final Four.

3-1 (22-25, 25-15, 25-21, 25-8)

With a 3-0 win over the Dinos Thursday night, the Spartans ended Calgary’s season for the second year in a row. With the win, the Spartans advance to the Final Four for the third straight season, which this year will be played at UBC Feb. 22-23. The top three teams at the Final Four advance to the CIS national championship to be played at the University of Sherbrooke Feb. 28 to Mar. 2.

After dropping the first set, the Spartans took their game to another level in the second set to earn a 10-point win and then, after a tight third set, they crushed the Dinos spirits and its season with a fourth set in which TWU hit .542 as a team.

Brown, who had an attacking percentage of .475, led the way from the get-go for TWU as she had five kills in each of the first three sets and then added eight in the fourth set. Her 23 kills breaks the Spartans four-set record, bettering the previous mark of 21, which Kara Jansen Van Doorn set against Alberta Feb. 25, 2011. Brown’s mark was just two kills shy of Jansen Van Doorn’s five-set record of 25, which she achieved twice.

“I don’t know what it was but in the fourth set, whenever Amber touched the ball, it was golden,” said Spartans coach Ryan Hofer. “She made a variety of shots. She was smart. She attacked the ball well and she hit at seems. She was outstanding overall but especially in that fourth set.”

While Brown stole the spotlight, the Spartans had a number of quality efforts as Alicia Perrin (Creston, B.C.) had 12 kills and four blocks while Nicole Bazin (Winnipeg) added seven kills and five blocks and Amy Ott (East Selkirk, Man.) had six kills and four blocks. Four different Spartans hit double-digits in digs with Kristen Moncks (Standard, Alta.) leading the way with a match-high 16. Setter Kelci French (Okotoks, Alta.) had a career-high 50 assists along with 12 digs and two aces. French’s assist tally puts her in a tie for third in TWU history for a four-set match, trailing Anna Paddock, who had efforts of 56, 53 and 50.

For Calgary, Andrea Price (Calgary) led the way with 10 kills and 12 digs. Courtney Dawson (Calgary) added nine kills and five blocks while Lindsay Russell (Surrey, B.C.) had seven kills, three blocks and 12 digs. Setter Jordhynn Guy (Calgary) had 26 assists and nine digs.

“We needed to serve the ball into the court on this team to make them pass them ball,” said Spartans coach Ryan Hofer. “We didn’t do that in the first set and they were hot. We had to find ways of containing their hitters, making them pass and getting past their defence because they were digging balls.

“We had to raise our level of play in order to match them. We had to grind it out. I want to believe we played consistent and then raised it just a little to get a win out of it.”

The first set was largely Dinos-dominated. Up 8-7, Calgary went on a 5-0 run that gave the visitors its biggest lead of the series at 13-7. From there, Calgary, who was led by a crushing blocks that saw it earn five blocks in the first set alone, never allowed TWU closer than two points. The Spartans made a late push to make it 23-21 and then 24-22, but, in the end a Spartans serving error clinched the set for Calgary. Russell led the way for the Dinos with four kills and two blocks while Dawson had three kills and three blocks. Brown was the Spartans attack leader, contributing five kills.

In the second set, the game turned towards the home side. Trinity Western scored the first five points, thanks in large part to three straight kills from Brown, and then continued to roll, opening as much as an eight-point edge at 10-2. However, with TWU up 13-4, Calgary closed the gap to five points with a 5-1 run that forced TWU into taking a timeout, up 14-9. Out of the timeout, TWU went right back to work, scoring four straight points and all but putting the set away. From, there, TWU cruised to a 10-point win. A Dinos attacking error gave the Spartans the winning point.

Brown added another five kills for the Spartans while Dawson and Price each had three kills for the Dinos.

The Spartans jumped out to a 9-5 lead in the third set and looked in control early. But just as TWU had opened its lead, the Dinos responded. Calgary earned six straight points to take an 11-9 lead. But with Bazin and Brown picking up kills and Hamilton nabbing an ace in between, TWU went back up 12-11. But the Dinos didn’t wilt. With a variety pack of kills, blocks and taking advantage of Spartans errors, Calgary went up 15-12. But then, the Spartans found their groove, going on a 6-1 run that gave them a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. After TWU took an 18-16 lead, the teams played sideout volleyball until a block from Brown gave TWU a three-point lead at 24-21. A kill from Perrin ended the set with the Spartans up 25-21.

Brown had yet another five-kill effort in the third set for TWU while Calgary’s Doland had a team-high three kills.

The fourth set was all Spartans. Trinity Western took an 8-1 lead, thanks to five kills from Brown, and never looked back. The Spartans dominated the rest of the way. After a kill from Perrin, the Spartans went up by 16-5, at the technical timeout. Trinity Western ran away with the set down the stretch and with a Bazin ace took the set, the match and the series.

Game Notes: Both teams had 9 blocks…TWU had a 10-3 advantage in aces…TWU had a .313 to .140 edge in hitting percentage…TWU had a 63-49 edge in digs…last year, TWU also swept Calgary in the Canada West quarter-final, winning 3-1 and 3-0.