Spartans rally for five-set win over Alberta

trinity western_spartans1

November 9, 2013, LANGLEY, British Columbia (ISN) – The No. 2 Trinity Western women’s volleyball team rallied from two sets down to earn a 3-2 win (26-28, 19-25, 25-17, 25-18, 15-9) over Alberta Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.

After dropping the first two sets, the Spartans, who seemed to rally around a second-set injury to Chelsea Wand, raced out to a 10-0 lead in the third set and, with that, the match’s momentum swung. From there, TWU went on to win the third set by eight and were right back in the match. Trinity Western then kept rolling as they won the fourth and fifth sets by a combined 13 points.

Trinity Western (3-3) went up 4-1 in the fifth set and never trailed en route to its first home win of the season. With the win, the Spartans earned a weekend split with Alberta (2-4), after losing Friday’s tilt in four sets.

In a match that saw the Spartans collect 19 team blocks, first-year middle Katelyn Devaney (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) set a Spartans single-match record with 13 blocks to lead TWU. She bettered both Dayna Jansen Van Doorn and Rhonda Schmuland, who each had once recorded 12. In the process Devaney also set the TWU record for block assists, with 13, bettering the previous mark of 11, which was held by Jansen Van Doorn, Schmuland and current Spartan Alicia Perrin (Creston, B.C.).

Beyond Devaney, who also had five kills, TWU’s Perrin and Sophie Carpentier (Ottawa) each had 11 kills to lead a TWU offence that hit .071 for the match. Chelsea Tancon (Comox, B.C.) came off the bench to put together a career night with nine kills and three blocks. Setter Lauren Moncks (Standard, Alta.) had a match-high 34 assists.

Alberta was led by Meg Casault, who had 12 kills while Karly Janssen added nine kills and five blocks. Dione Lang had a team-high seven blocks. Jessie Niles had a match-high 17 digs. Annie Abbott had 28 assists as Alberta hit .006 as a team.

“We had to really grind this one out and we had to work hard for it,” said Spartans coach Ryan Hofer. “Alberta wasn’t backing down, but it was good to be in our own gym and have the support of our fans and we went out there and made it happen.

“We got an injury in there and I don’t know if that had anything to do with our comeback, but the team rallied around Wand and we played as a team. We fought together. We believed together. And we got to win together because of that.”

The Spartans opened the first set looking determined to reverse Friday night’s result and soon established a 20-12 lead after a Wand ace. But that’s when Alberta started chipping away at the Spartans lead and getting to within four points at 23-19. But after a Casie Gano (Sundre, Alta.) kill, the Spartans had its first crack at match point at 24-19. However, sparked by a Janssen kill, Alberta tallied five straight points to tie it up 24-24. Then with the match tied 26-26, the Pandas earned two more points to win 28-26.

In the second set, Alberta scored six of the first seven points and after a Lang kill had a 6-1 lead. The Spartans got back to within one at 8-7, but the Pandas came right back and opened an eight-point lead at 16-8. The visitors kept pushing down the stretch and, with a Casault kill, won the set by six.

“After that second set, I told the team to never give up, to keep battling and to fight hard and to make better choices,” said Hofer.

That they did.

In the third set, with Wand on the sidelines, the Spartans opened with 10 straight points, nine of which came with Gano at the serving line. The Pandas only collected three kills over the entire set and the Spartans rolled to an eight-point win.

The Pandas responded well in the fourth set, building a 14-10 lead. But a kill from Tancon launched an 8-2 TWU run that gave the Spartans an 18-16 lead. From there, TWU scored seven of the last nine points and with three straight aces from Carpentier won the set by seven.

With momentum firmly on the Spartans side, TWU opened a 4-0 lead and never trailed. Alberta got to within one point at 6-5, but a 5-1 Spartans run reestablished a decisive TWU lead. A Perrin kill finished the set and the match.

The Spartans are back in action Nov. 15-16 when they travel to Calgary. Alberta will return home to host Thompson Rivers.

Game Notes: TWU had 13 aces to Alberta’s nine…Carpentier finished with five aces while Gano had four…TWU had just seven serving errors while Alberta had 10.