NO. 8 SPARTANS KNOCK OFF NO. 5 BOBCATS IN TOP 10 TILT
LANGLEY, British Columbia – The No. 8 Trinity Western women’s volleyball team earned their fourth straight win and did so against the No. 5 Brandon Bobcats with a 3-1 (32-30, 25-20, 23-25, 26-24) win Friday at the Langley Events Centre.
After the Spartans (7-4) won the first two sets, the Bobcats (7-4) nabbed the third set, but TWU avoided playing its fifth five-setter of the season as it closed the match with a two-point fourth set win.
Led by Sophie Carpentier (Ottawa), who had 17 kills and 11 digs, Royal Richardson (Rocky Mountain House, Alta.), who had 15 kills, and Alicia Perrin (Creston, B.C.), who had 11 kills and five blocks, the Spartans won kept their winning streak alive and have now won 12 of their last 13 sets. Setter Nikki Cornwall (Coquitlam, B.C.) had 39 assists to go with 10 digs and five blocks.
The Bobcats were led by Shanlee McLennan, who had 14 kills to go with four blocks and eight digs, and Jodie Baker, who added nine kills and five blocks. Mary Thomson led the team with 33 assists.
Despite Brandon holding the top ranked blocking team in the country to just nine blocks and collecting 12.5 itself, the visiting Bobcats were unable to slow TWU’s attack. The Spartans hitting .230 as a team and that proved to be the difference as the Bobcats hit just .145.
“Brandon is a good team so we knew that we had to play really well,” said TWU coach Ryan Hofer. “I think we had some moments of brilliance. I really liked our second set. We managed our errors, we forced them to play the ball and we were very efficient in how we hit. In the other sets, we just weren’t running quite as smooth as we would have like to. But I’m really glad we were able to avoid a fifth set and get it done.”
After the teams swapped points early on in the first set, the Bobcats opened their biggest lead of the set at the technical timeout, going up 16-13 following a Nikki Majewski block. TWU responded with a 4-0 run to take a 17-16 lead. From there it was back and forth until Brandon got its first crack at set point at 24-22. However, the Spartans came back with three straight points to get their first of what would be seven straight opportunities at set point. Finally, Perrin finished the job for the home side with a kill to make it 32-30.
In the second set, TWU’s Carpentier came alive in a big way as she collected eight kills to lead the Spartans to a five-point win. With the score tied 15-15, the Spartans went on a 5-1 run to take control of the set and Brandon was unable to get any closer than three points the rest of the way.
In the third set, Brandon took a 15-11 lead midway through the frame and looked poised to force a fourth set. The Spartans clawed their way back and evened the score at 18-18. But Brandon responded by scoring the next two points and, from there, never trailed. A kill from Vaovai Aiono gave the Bobcats the set. Despite TWU collecting 14 kills to Brandon’s 12, it was the Bobcats block that was the difference as they had 3.5 team blocks and didn’t allow the Spartans to get a single block.
The Bobcats took a quick 6-2 lead in the fourth set but TWU came right back with a 6-2 run of its own to knot the set 8-8. From there, neither team took more than a two-point lead as the teams were neck and neck down the stretch. With the teams tied 24-24, TWU took a timeout and, out of that, tallied the next two points, on a block and a Brandon error, to win the set and match.
“We were trying a few new things today,” Hofer said. “We got Elly (Wendel, Caronport, Sask.) on the floor and we were doing a double sub and I thought that worked fairly well for us.”
The two teams will meet in the rematch Saturday at 5 p.m. at the LEC.
Game Notes: The Spartans had a 61-52 edge in digs…Brandon had a 7-5 advantage in aces…TWU hit .200 or better in all four sets while Brandon hit as low as .070 in the first set and as high as .242 in the second set.