LANGLEY, British Columbia – The Trinity Western Spartans defeated the MacEwan University 3-0 to make it six straight sets over the visiting Griffins Saturday night at the Langley Events Centre in Langley, B.C. The 27-25, 25-17, and 25-11 win improves the No. 5 Spartans to 5-1, while the loss drops the Griffins to 2-6.
“MacEwan served us tough tonight and we had to make a few adjustments and it got us into a little trouble in the first set. I thought we were able to rally back and reverse it and put pressure on them as the set continued,” commented TWU head coach Ryan Hofer. “We needed to get our block in place and we needed to put pressure on them that way and to dig a few more balls that were scoring in the first set. So when we started to figure out how they were going to hit and where they were scoring in the first set. Once we figured out where they were going to hit and how they had adjusted on defence for us from night one we knew that we would be able to score more points.”
Fifth year outside Sophie Carpentier (Ottawa) with 14 kills, six digs, and three aces, fifth year outside Elly Wendel (Caronport, Sask.) with nine kills and eight digs and rookie outside Hilary Howe (Calgary) with six kills at .625 percent led the Spartans attack. While Cassidy Kinsella with 12 kills and 13 digs led the Griffins.
TWU fourth year setter Nikki Cornwall (Coquitlam, B.C.) led the Spartans attack with 32 set assists, while Claire McLoughlin led the Griffins with 24 set assists.
In the first set the Griffins were in control for the majority of the set and led TWU 15-10 early. The Spartans cut the lead to 16-13 at the technical timeout. But it looked like the Griffins had the first set with five set points leading 24-19 after a kill by Kate Rozendaal. The Griffins would not get the set point they needed as Brie O’Reilly served the Spartans back into the set with five straight points to give the Spartans set point at 25-24. Kassidy Kinsella’s kill tied the set at 25-25. TWU would continue their late set dominance with kills from Elly Wendel and Ashtyn McKenzie to give the Spartans the opening set 27-25. Sophie Carpentier led the Spartans with six kills, while the Griffins Cassidy Kinsella was impressive in the opening set with eight kills and nine digs. The two teams had even attacks as the Spartans hit at 13.5 percent (16-9-52), while the Griffins hit at 13 percent (15-8-54).
“Brie has a serve that is going to float and move and when she gets it in it is going to put them in a little trouble. And we knew that as we got closer to the 24 points that pressure would start to build and we knew that if we kept that on we would have a chance,” said Hofer.
The Griffins and Spartans were back and forth in the first part of the set, with the two teams tied at 9-9. Then with TWU leading 11-10, Nikki Cornwall went on a serving run to take a commanding 17-10 lead. The Spartans took the lead to 24-14 after a Katelyn Devaney kill. MacEwan fended off three set points on the serving of Zoe Cronin, but the Spartans Devaney finished off the set, 25-17, to give TWU the 2-0 edge in sets. Carpentier had another five kills for TWU in the second set, while Kinesella added four more to her total. TWU significantly improved their passing and attack as the Spartans hit for 35.3 percent (17-5-34), while the Griffins finished the set at 17.2 percent (8-3-29).
Trinity Western carried their strong play into the third set as they dominated the set leading 16-5 at the technical break. The Spartans continued to control the set down the stretch as they closed the match out 25-11 final set win. TWU hit for 22.7 percent (8-3-22), while MacEwan struggled hitting negative 5.3 percent (4-5-19).
“Consistency is what every coach is looking for from their team,” commented Hofer. “We have been talking a fare bit about it in the last little bit on how we can do that and what parts of our mindset need to be in place for us to have that consistency night after night. Because that is the golden key.”
Next up for the Spartans is a home and away series with the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds. TWU will be at UBC on Friday, November 25, with match time set for 12 pm PST. Then the two teams will match up again on Saturday, November 26 in Langley, BC. Match time is set for1:30 p.m. PST at the Langley Events Centre. Both matches can be seen live on Canadawest.TV. The Griffins will now return home to host the Thompson Rivers WolfPack on Friday and Saturday at 6 p.m. and 5 p.m. MST.
Match Notes: Through the end of the second set and the start of the third the Spartans had an impressive 31-13 run…the Spartans finished the night hitting 22.2 percent (41-17-108), while the Griffins hit at 10.8 percent (27-16-102)…TWU had eight blocks to MacEwans six…the Spartans finished with 10 aces, while the Griffins finished with three…