LANGLEY, B.C. – Trinity Western’s Hilary Howe (Calgary) had match-high 14 kills to lead the Spartans to a 3-0 (25-12, 25-14, 25-20) win over No. 8-ranked Mount Royal Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.
Coming off a convincing three-set win on Friday, the Spartans (5-3) duplicated their performance less than 24 hours later, cruising to their fourth straight victory. The Cougars (4-4) have dropped three consecutive contests.
Alongside the second-year Howe, who finished with a .357 hitting percentage, it was first-year Avery Heppell (Langley) earning an errorless eight kills on just 10 attempts. Heppell also had three aces.
Setter Brie King (O’Reilly) (Langley) finished with a match-high 27 assists as she led TWU’s offence to a .311 attacking percentage.
Ciera Talbot had a team-high seven kills for the Cougars. Allisa Dandenhault led MRU with 14 assists and three blocks.
Hitting .412 as a team, the Spartans were dominant early on as they rolled to a 13-point first set win. TWU held the Cougars to a -.120 hitting percentage, while earning four blocks to MRU’s one. Howe head a team-high four kills for TWU.
With all the momentum with the home side, the second set was a continuation of the first. TWU opened a 7-2 lead and never slowed. Hitting .333 as a team, the Spartans were once again led by Howe, who had five kills in the set. The Cougars were marginally better than they were in the first set, hitting .032, but were unable to hang with a hard-swinging Spartans side.
The Cougars were a different team early in the third set, opening a 10-5 lead after a block from Anna Carlson and Allisa Dandenhault. However, TWU clawed its way back into the set, eventually taking a 15-14 lead after a Michaela Crema (Surrey, B.C.) ace. The teams went back and forth before a Linda Damerau (Furthen, Germany) kill put TWU up 21-19. From there, TWU tallied four of the last five points to take the set and the match.
Head Coach Ryan Hofer
“I really like where our kill efficiency numbers are at. We’ve been working hard on learning how to manage the ball, taking rips when we need to and putting pressure on our opponents with how we’re attacking. Hitting 31 per cent is a byproduct of that.
“I think Brie is getting better each week. She’s finding her rhythm and she’s learning how to distribute the ball really well and is making some tough sets. It’s been exciting to see her journey and as she gets better, our offence is just getting better.”
· The Spartans held MRU to 20 or fewer points in all six sets over the weekend.
· Since starting the season with just one win in their first four games, the Spartans have lost just three sets total over their last four matches.
· TWU had a 9-4 edge in blocks and a 10-3 advantage in aces.