by Mark Janzen
January 11, 2014, LANGLEY, British Columbia (ISN) – For the second night in a row, the No. 5 Trinity Western women’s volleyball team collected 15 blocks in a three-set match as the Spartans completed a weekend sweep of Mount Royal with a 3-0 (25-15, 25-17, 25-20) win Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.
As the top blocking team in the country, the Spartans continued to flex their collective muscles at the net en route to their fifth win in a row and eighth victory in their last nine outings.
Led by Casie Gano, who had a match-high 10 blocks, the Spartans had seven different players with multiple block efforts to help TWU improve to 10-4 on the season. For MRU, who had just four team blocks, the loss drops its record to 5-9.
“We blocked really well tonight and had a good overall effort,” said Spartans coach Ryan Hofer. “It’s nice to have a team that can score so many points with our block. We can’t take it for granted. Those numbers aren’t always going to be there but we’ll take them when they are.”
The Spartans, who hit .256, put together a balanced attack as they had six players with at least two kills. Sophie Carpentier (Ottawa) led TWU with nine kills to go with five blocks while Royal Richardson (Rocky Mountain House, Alta.) had eight kills, two blocks and a team-high nine digs. Along with Gano’s blocking effort, she also put together an efficient night attacking, earning an errorless five kills on seven attempts. Setter Lauren Moncks (Standard, Alta.) had a match-high 21 assists.
For the Cougars, who hit .030 as a team, Robyn Potolicki and Julia Pasieka each had six kills while Makenzie Quinn added five kills and Mikayla Fritzke had four. Libero Taylor Smith had a match-high 10 digs. Setter Jenna Smith had 18 assists.
“The focus needs to be on what we need to do to become better,” Hofer said. “We’re coming out of Christmas and trying to find a rhythm and our offensive tempo and just looking to find a way to play great volleyball. That’s what we want to do and tonight I thought we did that.
“Casie had a really good weekend. I thought she was exceptional. Again, it’s great to have Sophie in the lineup and Lauren was really solid running the offence.”
With TWU up 5-4 early in the first set, the Spartans took off on a 7-2 run that broke the game open and gave the home side a 12-6 edge. The Cougars got to within five points at 16-11 after a Potolicki kill, but Perrin responded with a kill of her own to snuff out MRU’s momentum. From there, TWU ran away with the set thanks in large part to six team blocks, taking the set 25-15 after a Cougars attack error.
The second set saw the teams battle to a 13-13 tie before a kill from TWU’s Carpentier sparked a 3-0 that gave the Spartans their biggest lead of the set at 16-13. After the technical timeout, the Spartans continued to roll, scoring the next three points to take a 19-13 edge. The Cougars never got closer than four points and, after a Richardson sent an attack off the MRU block and out, the Spartans earned the set 25-17.
The Spartans hit .483 as a team in the second set with 15 kills and just one attack error on 29 attempts. After hitting -.088 in the first set MRU improved to .103 in the second set.
Trinity Western looked in full control from the outset of the third set as it took an 8-3 lead and then pushed it to 15-7. But with TWU up 18-11, MRU rallied. Embarking on a 7-2 run, the Cougars closed the gap to just two points at 20-18. However, down the stretch, the Cougars struggled from the serving line, committing three straight errors, and the Spartans took advantage. Ahead 23-20, a block from Perrin gave TWU a chance at match point and Richardson buried an overpass for the win.
The Spartans are back on the court Jan. 17-18 when host UBC Okanagan while Mount Royal will travel to play Manitoba.
Game Notes: TWU had seven aces to MRU’s two…this was MRU’s first trip to Langley since joining the CIS in 2012.