Spartans sweep Mount Royal to open second half of season

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by Mark Janzen

January 10, 2014, LANGLEY, British Columbia (ISN) – Thanks to yet another dominant blocking effort from the No. 5 Trinity Western women’s volleyball teams, the Spartans, on the strength of 15 team blocks, earned a convincing three-set win (25-15, 25-19, 25-15) over Mount Royal Friday at the Langley Events Centre.

Spartans middle Casie Gano (Sundre, Alta.) led the TWU blocking effort with nine blocks while setter Lauren Moncks (Standard, Alta.) added five and Royal Richardson (Rocky Mountain House, Alta.) had four. The Spartans now lead the league with 3.47 blocks per set.

The win improves TWU to 9-4 on the year while MRU drops to 5-8.

Beyond the Spartans block, it was TWU’s Sophie Carpentier (Ottawa) leading the way offensively with 18 kills and four aces.

“It’s great to have Sophie out there,” said Spartans coach Ryan Hofer of Carpentier, who has now earned 15 or more kills in seven of the Spartans 13 matches this year. “She is just got a heavy arm and she has great shots. She has a lot of fun and that’s how she plays.”

The Spartans Gano added six kills while Richardson and Chelsea Tancon (Comox, B.C.) each had five. Moncks finished with a match-high 26 assists to go with nine digs. Richardson finished with a match-high 11 digs.

For the Cougars, it was Julia Pasieka and Carolyn O’Dwyer each collecting five kills while Kylie Willis had a team-high three blocks. Fallon Middlemiss added four aces.

As a team, TWU was the better side from the outset as it hit .319 as a group. Mount Royal countered by hitting -.079. One of the few bright spots for the Cougars on the evening was their nine aces with only three serving errors.

“You never know what’s going to happen going into a match after the break, but I was very pleased with how this team prepared the last two weeks and it paid off for them tonight,” said Spartans coach Ryan Hofer. “We’ve been working a lot on our efficiencies in the front row and you can see with the numbers that we attacked very well. Lauren set a very good game and our hitters did a good job with the balls they were given.”

With the score 10-8 for the home side in the first set, the Spartans took control with a 5-0 run that gave them a 15-8 edge. With MRU’s Mikayla Fritzke serving, the Cougars climbed to within four points at 19-15, but a kill from Carpentier stemmed the visitor’s momentum. The Spartans notched the final six points of the set to win 25-15 after an MRU attack error.

Mount Royal took a quick 3-0 lead in the second set, but the Spartans responded with a 7-1 run, capped by a Moncks block and TWU took a lead it wouldn’t relinquish. The Cougars got as close as two points at 12-10, but they couldn’t get any nearer. A Carpentier roll shot from the back court followed by a Richardson kill gave TWU the set 25-19.

The Spartans broke out to a quick 6-1 lead in the third set, but with Middlemiss serving, MRU responded with a 6-0 run to go ahead 7-6. After a TWU timeout, a Carpentier block turned the momentum back towards the Spartans side and, with that, they pulled away. With Moncks setting a variety of players, the Spartans maintained control down the stretch and, after an MRU serving error, they took the set 25-15.

“We asked Lauren to really distribute the ball and don’t get caught in a particular pattern and I thought she did that, which is what we needed,” Hofer said.

The teams will clash again Saturday at 5 p.m. at the Langley Events Centre.

Game Notes: TWU has now won seven of its last eight matches…this was the first time MRU had played at the LEC since entering the CIS in 2012.

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