The No. 9 Trinity Western women’s volleyball team bounced back from a five-set loss to earn a weekend split with Regina after knocking off the Cougars 3-1 (19-25, 25-12, 25-20, 25-18) Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.
After the Spartans lost the first set of Saturday’s contest, the home side found its rhythm in the second set, launching an impressive final three sets that sealed the win for TWU (13-5).
Hilary Howe had a career-high 20 kills and hit .400 to lead the Spartans to a key victory. Katelyn Devaney (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) had a match-high 10 blocks to go with nine kills.
TWU setter Brie O’Reilly (Langley) had 43 assists as well as five kills and six blocks. Ashtyn McKenzie (Vernon, B.C.) had a career-high 17 digs while adding five kills.
Regina’s Jessica Lerminiaux had a team-high 14 kills and three aces. Taylor Ungar had a match-high 23 digs.
The Cougars hit .300 in the first set, but after that, the Spartans held Regina to a .081 hitting percentage over the final three sets.
TWU finished with a 13-4 edge in blocking.
The Spartans opened a 14-11 lead midway through the first set, but after that, Regina took control, holding TWU to just five points the rest of the set. The Cougars committed just one attacking error in the set. Howe was a bright spot for TWU, as she collected an errorless six kills.
The second set was a different story, with TWU hitting .462 and running away with a 13-point win. A 9-0 run through the middle of the set put the Spartans in full control. Howe added another five kills, while Devaney had six blocks in the set to pace the Spartans.
The Spartans raced out to a 10-1 lead in the third set before the Cougars called a tide-turning timeout. Out of the break, Regina came to life, clawing all the way back to tie the set 17-17. However, the Spartans found their way late in the set and finished the set on a 6-1 run, capped by a Devaney kill. Lerminiaux had six kills in the set for the Cougars, while Howe added another four to her total.
With momentum on their side, TWU was dominant in the fourth set, taking a 23-13 lead after a kill from Avery Heppell (Langley). Four consecutive points from Regina forced the Spartans into a timeout, but TWU capped the victory with Howe earning the match-winning kill.
TWU Head Coach Ryan Hofer
“I just think we took care of the details tonight, from preparation to responsibilities on and off the floor to the little things at the net with the game plan. They all added up to a really good game plan and the girls executed well and raised our efficiencies. I think one of the best things we did was how we served. We put them in a lot of trouble with our serving.
“In that first set, Regina was almost perfect. If they continued with that, kudos to them, but I just didn’t know if they could sustain that throughout the entire match. We just kept doing our thing. Obviously Hilary hitting .400 and getting 21 kills is really impressive and I was also really impressed with our role players, like Dora Komlodi (Calgary) and Alexis Jonker (Surrey, B.C.), who solidified the back row.”