No. 2 Spartans drop four-setter to Alberta

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November 8, 2013, LANGLEY, British Columbia (ISN) – Despite a 22-kill performance from Trinity Western’s Sophie Carpentier (Ottawa), the No. 2 Spartans women’s volleyball team lost in four sets (25-19, 28-26, 22-25, 25-22) to visiting Alberta Friday at the Langley Events Centre.

The Pandas (2-3) hit .219 as a team in the opening set while the Spartans (2-3) hit .000 with 11 errors and, with that, Alberta set the tone for the night. A close second set also went the Pandas way and while TWU pushed the contest beyond the minimum, Alberta did well to close out the match down the stretch in the fourth set.

The second-year Carpentier had a career-night with 22 kills, coming three shy of tying the TWU record, but it wasn’t quite enough to keep the Spartans hopes afloat.

The Pandas meanwhile were led by Meg Casault, who had 18 kills and 12 digs, and Karly Janssen, who had 17 kills and 12 digs. Setter Annie Abbott earned 39 assists while Jessie Niles had a match-high 19 digs. Dione Lang had a match-high eight blocks.

Beyond Carpentier, Alicia Perrin (Creston, B.C.) had 16 kills and four blocks for TWU while Katelyn Devaney (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) had a team-high five blocks. Chelsea Wand (Langley) had a team-high 17 digs to go with seven kills. Nikki Cornwall (Coquitlam, B.C.), coming off the bench in the third set, had a team-high 26 assists.

The Spartans haven’t lost back-to-back regular season home games since 2009-10 when it was also Alberta handing TWU its second home loss in a row on Jan. 8, 2010. That loss came on the heels of a loss to Brandon Nov. 14, 2009. Between those two losses, TWU played four road games and two home exhibition contests.

“We got outplayed tonight in our home gym and that’s tough to take,” said Spartans coach Ryan Hofer. “We have a lot of evaluating to do. It wasn’t just one thing tonight. They’re a good team and they played really well tonight so I’m going to give them full credit. But we also can play better than what we did.”

“One of the bright spots was the play of Sophie. She was fantastic. She got blocked at a couple key times but I don’t want that to taint the evening for her. She was a horse for us and she put a lot on her shoulders.”

In the first set, the Spartans opened a quick 4-2 lead only to see Alberta tally five straight points and take a 7-4 lead. From there, Alberta never trailed. A Casault kill extended the Pandas lead to four at 20-16 and from there, they cruised to a six-point win.

In the second set, Alberta took a 14-11 lead after a Janssen kill, but that edge was not to last. The Spartans responded with a 4-0 run take a 15-14 lead. However, Alberta scored six of the next eight points and a Casault ace gave the Pandas a 20-17 advantage. The Spartans hung around and pushed the set beyond 25, but after three cracks at set point, it was a Casault kill that gave the Pandas the set.

Alberta got out of the gate quick in the third set and built a 7-4 lead, but the Spartans, who had setter Cornwall replace Lauren Moncks (Standard, Alta.) to start the set, turned things around. Down by three, TWU went on an 8-1 run, capped by a Casie Gano (Sundre, Alta.) kill, to give the home side a 12-8 lead. Alberta got within one point at both 18-17 and 23-22, but never closer and with Carpentier’s 19th kill of the match, TWU earned the set 25-22.

With momentum in their corner, the Spartans looked like the stronger team early in the fourth set, taking a 7-5 lead following a Carpentier kill. But with TWU up 13-11, Alberta went on a 6-0 tear to give them a 17-13 lead. The Spartans battled back to take a 21-20 lead after a setter’s dump from Cornwall and then once again led 22-21. However, Alberta rattled off four straight points, capped by a Jessica Stroud ace to earn the set and the match.

Game Notes: The Spartans are now 0-2 at home after losing to UBC in their season-opener…TWU hit .130 as a team while Alberta hit .205…TWU had a 6-4 edge in aces…Alberta had a 14-9.5 advantage in blocks.