Nov 01, 2014

LANGLEY, British Columbia – Despite dropping the first set by nine points, the No. 4 Trinity Western women’s volleyball team rallied to win the next three sets to beat Manitoba 3-1 (16-25, 25-15, 25-15, 25-22) Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.

Following a 25-16 first set loss, the Spartans came out with a renewed energy in the second set and scored the first eight points to steal the match’s momentum. From there, TWU rolled, winning the second and third sets by 10 points each, before finishing the match out in the fourth set.

“After that first set I just asked our team to bring a little more to the floor,” said Spartans coach Ryan Hofer. “I think what happened was the sideline got more involved and each girl brought more energy. We got a few blocks and few kills and got the lead and then our confidence came back. It started to roll from there. That’s how we play and that’s how we need to play.

“Manitoba is a good team and we had to be strategic on a few things, but I felt we needed to bring more heart to the floor and we did that tonight.”

The win, which snapped a four-match Spartans losing streak, brings TWU back up to .500 at 4-4 on the season while the loss drops the defending CIS champion Bisons to 3-5.

Royal Richardson (Rocky Mountain House, Alta.) led the way for TWU offensively with 13 kills while Alicia Perrin (Creston, B.C.) was a force both offensively and defensively, earning 10 kills and a match-high nine blocks. Nikki Cornwall (Coquitlam, B.C.) had a match-high 34 assists while libero Kristen Moncks (Standard, Alta.) had a team-high 12 digs.

For the Bisons, it was Kalena Schulz leading the charge with a team-high 12 kills to go with five blocks. Sarah Klassen had a team-high six blocks while Rachel Cockrell had a match-high 16 blocks to go with nine kills. Brittany Habing had 28 assists.

The Spartans have next week off before travelling to play Mount Royal Nov. 15-16. The Bisons return home to play UBC in a rematch of last year’s CIS national championship final Nov. 7-8.

The first set was all Manitoba. The visitors raced out to a 7-1 lead and never let up. With an impressive combo block from Klassen and Schulz, the Bisons went up 14-5 and kept on rolling to a 25-16 win. Jordana Milne and Cockrell led the way with four kills each as Manitoba hit .433 over the course of the set compared to TWU’s .161. The Bisons also had three blocks while TWU – the top blocking team in the conference – was held without a single block.

The second set was a complete reversal of the first as the Spartans block came alive and TWU scored the first eight points of the set. The Spartans rolled to a 19-6 lead and then cruised to a 25-15 win. A Sophie Carpentier (Ottawa) kill ended the set, but it was TWU’s 7.5 blocks in the second set alone that paced the Spartans. Perrin had five block assists herself to lead the way.

The third set was close in the early stages, but TWU took over at the midway point and pulled away late. With TWU up 7-6, the Spartans went on a 6-2 run that gave them a 13-8 lead and then TWU pushed its advantage to 16-9 after a big block by Micaylee Pucilowski (Kelowna, B.C.). From there, the home side rolled to a 25-15 win after a Casie Gano (Sundre, Alta.) ace.

The Spartans looked well on their way to a match win in the fourth set when they went up 14-5. But Manitoba put up a fight late and crawled all the way back to tie the set 21-21. However, TWU, who gave up a 2-0 lead Friday night and ultimately lost in five sets to the Bisons, tallied three of the final four points and with a block from Perrin and Carpentier, the Spartans won 25-22.

Game Notes: TWU hit .187 as a team compared to Manitoba how hit .096…TWU had a 13.5 to 9.5 blocking edge…the Spartans also had an 11-6 lead in aces.