EDMONTON – In a battle of the two of the very best in U SPORTS women’s volleyball, the undefeated and No.1 ranked Alberta Pandas defeated the No.3 ranked Trinity Western Spartans in four sets (25-23, 27-25, 20-25 and 25-22) at the Saville Community Sports Centre.


The two titans of women’s volleyball came into the weekend series ranked highly in a number of national offensive categories, including kills, kills per set, attack percentage and aces.  After the first of two matches, the Pandas are now the No.2 team in the nation in attack percentage (.256), No.10 in kills (641), No.3 in kills per set (12.57) and No.4 in aces (128), while Spartans rank second in aces (150), fifth in attack percentage (.231), fourth in kills (756) and second in kills per set (12.60).


Elizabeth Wendel and Sophie Carpentier, ranked fourth and second respectively in U SPORTS kills, powered the Spartans attack on Friday, banking 18 (match high) and 16 kills, but with much less efficiency than their season average to date. Wendel now has an average of .237, after hitting just .170 on Friday, while Carpentier has a .310 following her .146 in the first of two matches against Alberta.


The Pandas, meanwhile, were led by Meg Casault who finished with 17 kills. Rookie middle Vanessa Jarman scored 13 kills up the middle, including the match winner. Casault continued her assault on the Canada West record book as well, improving her career conference kills total to 1,194 which is 61 kills back of a new conference record.


Alberta was able to keep both Wendel and Carpentier out of synch by running off-tempo offence, with lots of tips, dumps and roll shots, which forced the Spartans to pass quicker and with less control, thus keeping their offensive stars not as dialed in as normal. The Pandas also attacked the outsides of the court, keeping the ball out of the middle, and away from the hands of the powerful Spartan duo.


Trinity Western, however, did force an extra set, after falling down 2-0 to the open the match. Following losses of 23-25 and 25-27, the Spartans rallied in the third to head to extra sets. Wendel smashed seven kills in the fourth, while Carpentier added six kills and two aces, which lead Trinity to a convincing 25-20 third set win.


Middle Shauny Hogg picked up four of her six total kills for the Pandas in the fourth set, while Casault scored a pair and Jarman, a rookie who made her way into the starting line-up, put down the match winning kill on a great rally that saw Casault stuffed twice on the left side attack.


The Pandas and Spartans will connect in competition again on Saturday, January 28 at 5:00 p.m. MST.


Game Notes: The Pandas improved to 15-0, one off of the team record or 16-0…Alberta hit at .166 percent, while TWU hit at .174 percent…the Spartans had a 9-8 edge in team blocks…TWU had 10 aces to Alberta’s eight…

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