Spartans suffer road loss against Mount Royal
The Mount Royal Cougars were better from start to finish on Friday, beating the Trinity Western Spartans 96-66 on Kenyon Court.
Josh Ross continued his stellar season as he filled the stat sheet with 16 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Brett Layton also stood out for Mount Royal, as the post finished with 14 points and eight rebounds. He also had a season-high four assists.
Max Viitala (Melbourne, Australia) came off the bench to lead TWU with 18 points, while Patrick Vandervelden (Abbotsford, B.C.) added 12 points, five blocks and five rebounds.
TWU shot 38.6 per cent from the field (27-70) while Mount Royal shot 44.0 per cent (33-75).
Mount Royal’s win sees the Cougars get back within a game of .500 (8-9), while Trinity Western’s struggles continue as they fall to 2-15 on the year.
“We just did not bring enough energy and focus to compete at this level,” said Spartans coach Aaron Muhic. “Our team turned the ball over way too many times and we didn’t defend with the energy, passion and togetherness that we needed in the first half. I will accept responsibility for that and I know that tomorrow night will bring a better effort and compete for 40 minutes.”
The Cougars controlled the first half right from tip-off. They were all over the Spartans on the defensive end, nabbing nine steals while forcing 16 turnovers. Those turnovers led to 26 points for the Cougars.
Craig Martin looked sharp coming off the bench for Mount Royal, giving them instant offense with ten points including a couple of big 3-pointers. Martin also chipped in on the defensive end with two steals.
Mount Royal’s defense didn’t let up in the second half, holding the Spartan scoreless through the first four and a half minutes. Charn Gill kept their offense turning with back-to-back contested 3-pointers.
The Cougars and Spartans will conclude their weekend series Saturday on Kenyon Court. Tip-off time is set for 5 p.m. (PT).
Game Notes: The Spartans have lost 14 consecutive regular season games…TWU’s last win was Nov. 11 against Fraser Valley.
Men’s 4x800m team finishes first on day one at cougar indoor
Trinity Western’s men’s 4x800m team finished first with a time of 7:47.00 to highlight the first day of action at the Washington State University’s Cougar Indoor Friday.
The 4x800m team featured Adam Marshall (Langley, B.C.), James Lam (Langley), Tyler de Jong (Langley) and Declan White (South Surrey, B.C.). The Spartans effort was just under five seconds off the school record of 7:42.12, which was set at last year’s Canada West championship meet Feb. 27, 2016 in Saskatoon.
Also on the track, TWU’s 4x200m team finished second in 1:35.59.
In the field, James Linde (Coquitlam, B.C.) was fifth in long jump with a mark of 6.72m, while first-year Aaron Postma (Abbotsford, B.C.) wasn’t far behind in sixth with a jump of 6.70m.
The Spartans are back in action Saturday for the second day of the Cougar Indoor.
2nd – 1:35.59 – James Linde, Nick Ayin, Aaron Postma, Stephen Humphrey
1st – 7:47.00 – Adam Marshall, James Lam, Tyler de Jong, Declan White
5th – James Linde – 6.72m
6th – Aaron Postma – 6.70m
9th – Denzel Brown – 6.38m
15th – Nolan Sept – 6.10m
Dunford makes pole vault standard for national championships
Trinity Western’s Kirsten Dunford (Bellingham, Wash.) made the pole vault qualifying standard for the U SPORTS national championships with clearance of 3.85m Friday at the Washington State University’s Cougar Indoor.
Dunford’s effort also marked her best performance in a TWU uniform, bettering her previous best of 3.80m, which she posted at this year’s Spartans Pole Vault Open.
First-year Spartan Rachel Jerome (Ladysmith, B.C.) equaled her season’s best in the long jump pit with a mark of 5.54m to finish third overall.
Sophie Pauls (Vancouver) bettered her season’s best in the pentathlon, scoring 2,642 points to finish seventh overall. Her previous best this year was 2,598, which she scored at the University of Alberta’s Golden Bear Open.
^U SPORTS Automatic Qualifying Standard
2nd – 9:43.56 – Mikaela Smart, Mirelle Martens, Rachel Shuttleworth, Claire Noort
4th – 9:52.83 – Joanna Williams, Meg Harradine, Jennifer Shannon, Jordan Piercy
2nd – Kirsten Dunford – 3.85m^
10th – Maddy Evans – 3.35m
— Chloe Alkema – NH
— Mikaila Lapointe – NH
3rd – Rachel Jerome – 5.54m
11th – Emma Li – 4.98m
13th – Jordyn Piercy – 4.80m
7th – Sophie Pauls – 2642 pts
8th – 10.80 – 570 pts
7th – 1.43m – 544 pts
6th – 8.89m – 457 pts
8th – 4.49m – 426 pts
7th – 2:33.89 – 645 pts
Sclater leads no. 2 Spartans to four-set win over no. 9 Brandon
Trinity Western fifth-year Ryan Sclater (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) had 24 kills as he led the No. 2-ranked Spartans to a 3-1 (25-17, 25-19, 28-30, 25-20) win over No. 9 Brandon Friday at the Langley Events Centre.
Despite hitting just .205 as a team and collecting just seven blocks to the Bobcats 11.5 blocks, the Spartans edged Brandon in a four-setter to improve to 17-2 on the season. The Bobcats dropped to 11-8.
After TWU took the first two sets convincingly, the Bobcats extended the match with an emotionally-charged third set. In the fourth set, the Spartans opened a 6-1 lead and, with Sclater collecting nine kills in the set, TWU held an advantage the rest of the way.
“I thought Brandon had a really good plan,” said Spartans coach Ben Josephson. “Statistically, they’re the best blocking and defensive team in the league thus far and they showed it again tonight. They blocked the ball really well. They defended the ball incredibly well. They kept balls alive that we’re not used to seeing alive and we handled that very poorly mentally. We got frustrated by their play and it affected our play.”
After Sclater, it was first-year Eric Loeppky (Steinbach, Man.) helping lead TWU’s offence with 13 kills while the Spartans middle attack combined for 13 kills and just two attacking error, with Aaron Boettcher (Surrey, B.C.) collecting seven kills and Pearce Eshenko (Banff, Alta.) nabbing six kills.
Elliott Viles led the Bobcats attack with 17 kills and Seth Friesen had 13 kills. Brandon was playing without Roy Ching, who has been averaging four kills per set this year and is sixth all-time in Canada West for career kills.
With Sclater’s performance, he matched his career-high for kills in a match. He previously put up 24 kills against Mount Royal Nov. 16, 2014. He also continued to rise up the Canada West record books, moving into ninth in all-time career kills. Sclater, who now has 1,106 kills in his five-year career, passed former Bobcat Sam Tuivai, who was previously ninth with 1,094 kills.
“If you want to be great at this game, you have to control what’s on your side of the net and not what’s on their side,” Josephson said. “Their half of the court affected ours. That’s error number one and that summarized the game. They played with great passion and great defensive ability and we did not match it with mental focus and stability. That’s why the game turned into a slugfest in the last two sets. If we’re going to be a great team, we need to find a way to play our way and keep our focus on our system and playing our brand of volleyball. I’m pleased we won the game, but we don’t care about wins and losses. We care about doing the right things at this stage in the season. Our opponents put us to a mental test and we failed the test. Tomorrow, we need to pass the test.”
In a first-set defensive battle, the Spartans earned the win in convincing fashion, taking the opener by eight points. Despite only hitting .171, the Spartans held the Bobcats to a .000 efficiency and had a 3-0 edge in aces.
Sclater took over in the second set, collecting seven kills and didn’t commit a single attacking error to help the home side to a six-point win. Hitting .343 as a team, TWU ran away with the set, holding the Bobcats to a .269 attacking efficiency.
Brandon took a 3-0 lead in the third set only to see TWU rally shortly thereafter, eventually going up 10-6. Late in the set, the Bobcats clawed back into the set, taking a 22-21 kill have a monster by Jacob Reid and James Weir. From there, the teams traded points beyond 25, before a Viles block finally settled the score in favour of the Bobcats. Brandon turned the efficiency tables in the set, hitting .282 compared to TWU’s .220. Both Sclater and Viles had five kills in the set.
The Spartans took an early lead in fourth set and never trailed. With Sclater leading the TWU attack, the Spartans held on for the win, hitting .205 as a team. Brandon hit .107 in the final set.
The teams will meet in the rematch Saturday at 7 p.m. (PT) at the LEC.
Game Notes: The Spartans and Bobcats have split their last four regular season series…the last time TWU earned a weekend sweep was Nov. 11-12, 2011…Brandon has never swept TWU…TWU is 14-7 all-time in the regular season against Brandon.
Gordon, brown lead Spartans to win over Mount Royal
The Trinity Western Spartans came up clutch in the late stages on Friday night, rallying to defeat the Mount Royal Cougars 87-82 at Kenyon Court.
Trailing by nine points with 3:41 to play, the Spartans (11-6) finished the match on a 17-2 run to pick up their fifth win in their last six games.
Jessie Brown (Langley, B.C.) and Kayla Gordon (Prince George, B.C.) were standouts for the Spartans. Brown finished with 29 points, including eight 3-pointers, while Gordon finished with a double-double, putting up 26 points and grabbing a career-high 14 rebounds.
Becky Nash continued her impressive fourth-year campaign with Mount Royal. She finished with 14 points and nine rebounds, while adding in a couple of assists.
The win ensures TWU will post a winning record in the regular season for the first time in program history. Their 11th win over the year also matches the Spartans program-high for wins in a season. In 2008-09, TWU posted an 11-12 record.
“Tonight was a battle,” said Spartans coach Cheryl Jean-Paul. “We definitely scored enough, but our defensive effort lacked consistency. No game this season has been easy and we expected a tough opponent since every game matters to every team whether it’s about making playoffs or hosting or getting as high in the rankings as possible. In the last few minutes, we definitely showed more maturity and composure. To be down by nine points with a few minutes left and come back and hit big shots, get the stops we needed and make our free throws says a lot about our development over the past few months and years. We look forward to a second battle tomorrow.”
The Cougars set the tone early in Friday night’s contest. Nash was having her way with the Spartan defenders in the post, providing MRU with six of their first eight points.
Mount Royal built a 12-point lead in the first quarter but it didn’t last long. In the second, the Spartans took back momentum. A 10-0 Spartan run got Trinity Western right back in the game.
With just over four minutes left in the half, Brown caught fire, putting up 11 straight points in just over a two-minute span. Brown’s solo run put the Spartans up seven before the half.
Fifth-year Cougar guard Angela Driscoll inspired her teammates at the start of the second half, which seemed to spark the rest of the team. Mount Royal clawed its way back in the third and found themselves heading in the final quarter with a two-point lead.
The Cougars continued to bring the pressure in the final quarter, building a nine-point lead with 3:41 left.
Each time Mount Royal built a large lead the Spartans came back with a run of their own.
Trinity Western’s Gordon and Brown ignited the Spartan offence down the stretch as momentum shifted.
Brown and Gordon’s baskets kicked off a 17-2 run for the Spartans to end the game.
Mount Royal’s loss sees them fall to 3-14 on the year, while Trinity Western’s improves their record to 11-6.
The Cougars and Spartans will do it all over again tomorrow afternoon on Kenyon Court. Tip-off is slated for 4:00pm MST.
The two teams will meet in the rematch Saturday at 6 p.m. at the LEC.
Game Notes: Gordon’s previous career-high for rebounds was 12, which she collected last Friday against Victoria…including a post-Christmas exhibition game, TWU is 8-2 in its last 10 outings.
No. 3 Spartans rally in third set to earn win over Brandon
Trailing 24-19 in the third set, the No. 3 Spartans women’s volleyball team staved off five set points before winning 27-25 to cap a 3-0 (25-16, 25-17, 27-25) victory over Brandon Friday at the Langley Events Centre.
With an impressive defensive display in the late stages of the third set from both libero Rachel Flink (Surrey, B.C.) and setter Nikki Cornwall (Coquitlam, B.C.), the Spartans (16-3) roared back to end the match in the minimum.
After Elly Wendel (Caronport, Sask.) put TWU on match point, a kill from Ashtyn McKenzie (Vernon, B.C.) finished the match in favour of the home side.
“We’ve been working really hard on our defensive game over the last month – raising our pursuit levels and our ability to get to the ball and get it up,” said Spartans coach Ryan Hofer. “That showed tonight, especially in the last few points of the third set.”
As a team, the Spartans finished with 68 digs, which marked the TWU’s third highest total for a three-set match in program history. Wendel and Cornwall had 15 digs each, while Flink had 13 and Brie O’Reilly (Langley) had 11. Brandon (7-12) had 45 digs.
“We were scrambling well and were getting the ball back up and we were giving ourselves opportunities,” Hofer said. “Brandon raised their level of play in the third set and we had to fight and show a lot of character in that game and make some big plays. I think Brandon earned some of it, but I think we also put ourselves into that position. So, in the end, I think there are some things we can celebrate, but there are also some things we can improve on.”
On a night when the Spartans hit only .120, Wendel led the way with 15 kills, while Sophie Carpentier (Ottawa) had eight kills.
Brandon’s Nikala Majewski had a team-high six kills, while Danielle Larocque had a match-leading five blocks.
The Bobcats finished with 9.5 blocks while TWU had seven.
The victory put the Spartans back in the win column after dropping back-to-back matches against No. 1-ranked Alberta last weekend.
The Spartans held Brandon to just four kills in the opening set, while earning 11 themselves en route to a nine-point win. With the score tied 11-11, Cornwall served TWU to a 7-0 run that put the home side in the lead for good. Carpentier and Wendel each had four kills in the set while Majewski had three for Brandon.
TWU didn’t skip a beat in the second set, taking a 6-1 lead and holding off the Bobcats the rest of the way. Wendel collected another six kills and the Spartans held Brandon to five kills as a team. After TWU hit just .073 in the first set, the offence found its rhythm in the second set, hitting .257. The Bobcats hit .091 in the second set after hitting -.105 in the opener.
After Brandon took a 7-4 lead in the third set, Bobcats first-year Carmen Ross went down with an injury in which she needed to be carried off the court. But with Ross sidelined, Brandon responded with a 7-2 run to push its lead to 14-6. The visitors carried a lead throughout the set and, with a 24-19 edge, looked primed to force a fourth set. But then, a Bobcats service error started TWU’s rally and with three kills from Wendel leading the way, the Spartans came all the way back to take the set and the match.
The teams meet in the rematch Saturday at 5 p.m. (PT) at the LEC.
Game Notes: The Spartans record for digs in a three-set match is 83, which they posted Feb. 27, 2009 against Moncton…TWU is 17-6 all-time in the regular season against Brandon…including regular season and playoffs, TWU has won eight straight matches against the Bobcats…TWU is 10-1 at home against Brandon in the regular season…Brandon’s only win against TWU in Langley was a five-setter Nov. 14, 2009…Carpentier is currently fourth all-time in Canada West for career kills, with 1,158. She is only 16 kills behind Rachel Cockrell, who is third overall.