Spartans Settle for Canada West Silver Medal After Falling to UBC

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February 24 ,2013, Vancouver, BC (ISN) – The Trinity Western women’s volleyball team saw its hopes of winning its first ever Canada West gold medal dashed Saturday afternoon as the Spartans lost to UBC in four sets at the War Memorial Gym.

 (25-23, 18-25, 25-18, 25-20) at the War Memorial Gym.

For the Spartans, it’s the third time in the last five years they have lost to UBC in the conference championship match.

Despite TWU outhitting UBC .157 to .153 and collecting 17.5 blocks to the T-Birds 11, the visiting Spartans were unable to solve UBC’s defence, which was led largely by Canada West MVP Shanice Marcelle. The T-Birds fifth-year star had a match-high 16 digs and added four blocks, which limited a typically strong Spartans attack.

The T-Birds grinded out every point defensively as they were unable to get their own offence running at full power. After UBC won the first set, the Spartans held the T-Birds to just .121 hitting the rest of the way.

Offensively, Marcelle also led UBC as she collected a match-high 16 kills. Lisa Barclay finished with 11 kills, but was a major focal point of the Spartan blockers as she was held to a negative hitting percentage. Rosie Schlagintweit had eight kills, and middle blocker Abigail Keeping had another efficient night with six kills on 10 attacks while adding four blocks.

Alicia Perrin (Creston, B.C.) led the Spartans offensively with 11 kills while Amber Brown (Three Hills, Alta.) and Carly Hamilton (Calgary) both had seven. Kelci French (Okotoks, Alta.) posted 30 assists and 11 digs from the setter spot.

Both teams will now travel to Sherbrooke, Que., where they, along with bronze-medal winning Alberta, will represent Canada West at the CIS national championship from February 28 to March 2.

“It was a hard-fought loss,” said Spartans coach Ryan Hofer. “It was back and forth for a lot of the match and there were just a few things that we didn’t execute as well as we could have. We have to make sure we stay aggressive against this team and put them in a little more trouble. They served tough from the base line, which got us into a little trouble. Against a team like UBC, we need to make sure we control the ball better than they do and we struggled to do that tonight.

“I thought the girls gave a lot tonight but as a team we have another level we need to play at and we’re hoping we can do that in Quebec.”

The first set was a pivotal one, with the T-Birds falling behind as many as six points and the large crowd of Spartan supporters in attendance putting momentum in the visitors’ corner. A 6-0 run on Jessica von Schilling’s serve got the ‘Birds back into the action though, and they went ahead late on a string of Lisa Barclay kills.

Set two was all Spartans, as they started out on a 6-1 run and finished with a blocking clinic from mPerrin. She blocked five balls in the set and finished the game with seven.

However, set three was the opposite, with UBC taking a big lead early and holding onto it throughout.

The T-Birds again found themselves trailing by several points in the fourth set, but Marcelle heated up for three quick kills midway through the set to get UBC on even footing. From there, UBC executed well down the stretch, capping things off with the winning point off a Barclay block.

Game Notes: UBC had a 6-4 edge in aces…TWU is now 2-2 against UBC this year, including preseason, regular season and playoffs…TWU will be looking for its first ever CIS title next week while UBC will be in search of a sixth-straight CIS title.