EDMONTON – In a battle between No. 1 Alberta and No. 2 Trinity Western, the Spartans women’s volleyball team lost in 3-1 (23-25, 25-20,18-25 22-25) Friday at the Saville Community Sports Centre.
After Alberta claimed the first set, TWU came back to win the second set, but the Pandas responded by taking the next two sets and claiming the match.
Sophie Carpentier (Ottawa) had a match high of 18 kills. While Nikki Cornwall (Coquitlam, B.C.) led the match with 43 assists. Alicia Perrin (Creston, B.C.) and Casie Gano (Sundre, Alta.) each had 11 kills with Perrin adding four blocks and Gano mustering three blocks. Kristen Moncks (Standard, Alta.) had a match-high 19 digs.
For Alberta, it was Meg Casault, with 12 kills and 10 digs, and Kacey Otto, with 10 kills, 12 digs and four blocks, leading the way.
The Spartans also had a match-high 13 blocks, compared to Alberta’s 11. Alberta had 10 aces to just four serving errors while TWU had eight aces to 11 serving errors.
“We play a competitive sport, so we come out and we’re in the gym of the No. 1 team in the country and we want to perform well. That’s all I’m asking of these girls is to give their best.” said Spartans coach Ryan Hofer. “I don’t think we did it tonight. We can’t give teams like that anything. You can’t slip up and you can’t have mental lapses and that’s what we did tonight.”
“Alicia Perrin had a very good night. I also think we had a very good blocking night. Offensively we were just lacking. We just couldn’t find a way to get the ball to the ground.”
The first set of the game started well for the visitors as the Spartans took the early lead and maintained their lead for the majority of the set. However, Alberta was able to sneak up from behind towards the end of the set, gaining the lead at 24-23, and finished the set off 25-23. Carpentier led the set in kills with a total of five. TWU put up three solid blocks during the set and hit a percentage of .128 compared to Alberta’s .125.
Alberta led the second set up until the midpoint, when the Spartans tied it up 13-13 and took the lead. After the Spartans grabbed the lead they didn’t let up, winning the set 25-20. TWU improved its hitting percentage, coming in at .173, while Alberta’s dropped to .101. Trinity Western added another 6.5 blocks to their total, while Alberta only managed a single block in the second set.
The third set began again with Alberta out in front and despite TWU’s efforts the home team managed to maintain its lead all the way to the end of the set, claiming it 25-18. After the third set, Katelyn Devaney (Port Coquitlam, B.C) led the match with a running total of seven blocks. TWU gained two more blocks during the set, while Alberta was able to add five to its total.
In the fourth set, it was close until the score hit 12-12. At that point, Alberta scored three straight points and the Spartans never earned the lead again. The Spartans managed to tie it up late, at 22-22. But the Pandas came back and claimed the next three points, to win 25-22 after back-to-back TWU attack errors.
“I think there are parts that we played with them and parts that we played very well,” Hofer said. “And there were also points where we played very weak out there and we have to do better.
“Alberta is a great team, that’s why they’re ranked number one. With that though, they’re not going to give up. They’re going to play a good defense. We need to find a way of finding a better way of containing that and running our own systems. This game is about redemption and being able to come back and be able to play better. Each day is a new day.”
The Spartans and Pandas meet in a rematch Saturday at 5 p.m. MDT at the Saville Community Sports Centre.
Match Notes: Trinity Western hit (53-31-172) while Alberta managed to hit (39-22-141).