Mark Janzen, Trinity Western University
LANGLEY, British Columbia – The Trinity Western Spartans came back after a bye week with an impressive straight set victory over the MacEwan Griffins Friday night at the Langley Events Centre in Langley, B.C. The 25-10, 25-14, 25-23 win improves the No. 5 ranked Spartans to 4-1 in Canada West play, while the loss drops the Griffins to 2-5.
Fifth year outside Elly Wendel (Caronport, Sask) with 13 kills, and two aces and fifth year outside Sophie Carpentier (Ottawa) with 10 kills, and two aces led the Spartans attack, while Cassidy Kinsella with nine kills led the Griffins attack.
Fourth year TWU setter Nikki Cornwall (Coquitlam, B.C.) finished the night with 29 assists, while MacEwan's setter Claire McLoughlin led the Griffins with 19 assists.
"We've been working hard at controlling the net and working hard with our block and just trying to meet standards offensively and I thought we did a pretty good job of doing that in the first two sets," said Spartans coach Ryan Hofer. "We had a little lull in the third and MacEwan picked it up a bit, which made for a close set. But I thought we served well tonight and we put good pressure on the net and keyed on the right people and played solid volleyball."
TWU never trailed in opening set and led 16-9 at technical timeout. Out of the break the Spartans went on a 5-2 run and forced MacEwan into their second timeout trailing 22-10. The pause did not slow TWU down as the Spartans continued to roll out of the timeout to take the opening set 25-10. The Spartans finished the first set hitting an impressive 52.4 percent (12-1-21) to the Griffins negative 6.7 percent (7-9-30). Sophie Carpentier led the TWU attack with six kills, while Lauren Holmes led the MacEwan attack with four kills.
MacEwan got first point to lead 1-0. Then TWU picked up where they left off in the opening set to take a 16-8 lead into the technical timeout. The Griffins took a timeout at 20-10, but the Spartans did not slow down as TWU took the second set 25-14. TWU's attacked cooled off at the Spartans hit for 35.7 percent (14-4-28), while the Griffins improved to 13.8 percent (9-5-29). Elly Wendel led the TWU attack in the second set with six kills, while Haley Gilfillan and Cassidy Kinsella each had three kills for MacEwan.
In the third set it looked like TWU was going to close out the match quickly as the Spartans jumped out to an early 7-0 lead. But the Griffins rallied as the set progressed and only trailed by three points, 16-13 at the technical timeout. MacEwan was not done as they eventually took the lead 21-20 after a Kinsella kill off of the TWU block. The teams exchanged points over the next five lengthy rallies to be tied 23-23. TWU's Elly Wendel gave the Spartans back the lead after an overpass by the Griffins. Then TWU's Sophie Carpentier finished off the set and the match with an ace to make the final 25-23 for the Spartans. The Spartans attack dropped off considerably in the final set as TWU hit at 20.8 percent (10-5-24), while MacEwan had their best set hitting at 14.3 percent (6-3-21). Elly Wendel led the Spartans in the final set with four kills, while Cassidy Kinsella led the Griffins with five kills.
The two teams will match up again tomorrow night at the Langley Events Centre. Match time is set for 5 p.m. PST and can be seen live on Canadawest.TV.
Match Notes: TWU started final set with 7-0 run… prior to the third set deficit, TWU had only trailed once in the match at 1-0 to start the second set…the Spartans finished with an 8-2 edge in total blocks and a 12-5 edge in service aces…TWU third year libero Rachel Flink (Surrey, B.C.) led both teams with 10 digs.