EDMONTON – The No. 4 Trinity Western Spartans earned yet another Canada West women’s volleyball medal, defeating the UBC Okanagan Heat 3-0 (25-13, 25-20, 25-20) in the conference bronze medal match, Saturday night at the University of Alberta’s Saville Community Sports Centre.
“Today was a new day for us and for us to show how we would respond under a little bit of adversity and pressure. Yesterday we suffered a loss, but today we made it a new day,” said Hofer on overcoming yesterday’s loss in the semi-final. “Nikki did a really nice job of distributing the ball keeping us really balanced and then the hitters did their work. They did their job, they hit their serving targets and we really tried to put UBC-O under a lot of pressure.”
The win also qualifies the Spartans for the U SPORTS Championship, next weekend in Toronto hosted by the Ryerson Rams.
“I’m proud of the girls the coaching staff the support of our athletic staff that have enabled us to do this. We have an amazing group of girls and alumni and they have all contributed to help us do this,” commented Hofer on his program going to their seventh straight national championship.
UBC Okanagan, meanwhile, finish in fourth in Canada West, with their season coming to an end in Edmonton.
First team Canada all-star Sophie Carpentier paced the Spartans attack with 14 kills on 34 attacks, adding seven digs and four total blocks. Fellow first team all-star Eli Wendel also scored in double-digit kills, hitting 13 on Saturday.
On the play of fifth year Elizabeth Wendel Hofer said: “Elly is the real deal. Yesterday was a rough day for her, but I believe that she is a young lady of deep character. And she was not going to let yesterday be her year end. She was going to make a stand and she was going to go out playing a different game, and she did that tonight.”
Kaitlynn Given led UBC Okanagan with eight kills on 22 attempts, earning the Mikasa Canada Player of the Match for the Heat. Carpentier was named the Spartans Player of the Match.
After suffering a crushing upset loss the previous night to the UBC Thunderbirds, the Spartans came out firing in the bronze match, cruising to a 25-13 first set win. Wendel and Carpentier each scored five kills in the opening set, while the Heat struggled offensively with just eight kills and seven errors.
The offensive issues persisted in the second, as UBCO managed just seven kills on 24 attempts for a 8.3 attack percentage. TWU, meanwhile, was even deadlier in the second, as Carpentier added six of the Spartans 18 kills in the set, while Wendel added four and Brie O’Reilly chipped in three. Thanks in large part to the 30% gap in attacking, the Spartans took the second 25-20.
The Spartans fell back to earth in the third, but were able to come away with a 25-20 win thanks to 16 digs and a pair of blocks. Nine more Heat attack errors also contributed to the Spartans straight-sets win, as UBCO finished their season with a staggering 21 errors in just three sets. TWU also took advantage of seven aces on Saturday.
The Trinity Western Spartans, along with the Canada West Champion Alberta Pandas, and conference runner-up UBC Thunderbirds, will now represent the Canada West conference at next week’s U SPORTS Championships. Canada West has accounted for 10 of the past 11 women’s volleyball champions.
Match Notes: In the last 12 years the Spartans women’s volleyball team has been to 10 national championships… TWU finished the night hitting at .236 (42-17-106), while UBC-O hit at .022 (23-21-90)…Nikki Cornwall had 38 set assists for the Spartans, while Sara McCreary had 20 set assists for the Heat…the Spartans had a 9-4 edge in blocks and a 7-5 edge in service aces…