VANCOUVER – The Trinity Western Spartans dropped the second match of the home-and-home series 3-1 to the UBC Thunderbirds Friday night at War Memorial Gym in Vancouver. With the win UBC sweeps the series and improves to 18-4, while the loss drops the Spartans to 13-9.
The Spartans had their best set of the match to open the match. TWU matched UBC point-to-point to 10-10. From there the Spartans took control of the set with a 6-1 run to lead 16-11 at the technical time-out. TWU maintained their advantage to the final points. Kristen Anton put the Spartans up 23-20. After exchanging points, the Spartans Hilary Howe finished of the opening set to put TWU up 1-0 with the 25-21 win.
Similar to the third set the fourth frame was also fairly close until Thunderbirds fourth-year outside hitter Victoria Behie came thru with two consecutive kills to extend the lead to 21-16 which allowed the hosts to not look back. The 'Birds would cruise to a 24-17 advantage before second-year middle Gabrielle Attieh would secure match point with the final of her eight kills on the night.
The T-Birds got out to a spirited start with first-year left side Kiera Van Ryk delivering two straight emphatic kills to open the scoring while fifth year setter Alessandra Gentille followed up shortly after with a service ace making it 4-3. The T-Birds would enjoy an 8-5 advantage before Trinity battled back for a 12-10 lead courtesy of Kristin Anton's big kill which caused 'Birds head coach Doug Reimer to call a timeout. The Spartans would stay in the lead however courtesy of three more kills from Anton who finished with nine in the match while Avery Heppell chipped in with two of her three total kills. Hillary Howe also stepped up with a key block to keep TWU in front 17-14 and it was Howe again minutes later at set point with one of her three kills in the set and overall team high 14 on the night to seal the opener 21-25. UBC finding themselves on the wrong side of the scoreline despite second-year setter Olivia Furlan managing seven of her team high 14 kills on the evening.
The Thunderbirds responded with a much sharper second set highlighted by Furlan stringing together four straight service aces to put UBC in front 9-5 and causing Spartans head coach Ryan Hofer to call a timeout. Third-year left side Anna Price would come through with one of her three kills in the frame before another Van Ryk kill led to another TWU timeout when trailing 12-5. The 'Birds would ride an efficient team hitting percentage of .364 in the set to a 24-12 lead ahead of Behie delivering the set point kill, one of her seven on the night.
The third set proved to be a much closer back and forth affair before second-year middle Gabrielle Attieh helped turn the tide in the hosts favor with a savvy setter dump followed up by a kill and a 20-19 lead. Fourth-year middle Ciara Hanly helped out with one of her six kills on the night helping secure the 25-22 set victory.
Thunderbirds head coach Doug Reimer likes how his team is trending at the right time of the season.
Also standing out for the Spartans was Katelyn Devaney and Micaylee Pucilowski with six kills while Brie O'Reilly had a game high 36 assists. For the T-Birds Van Ryk finished with 12 kills and seven digs, Furlan managed a team high 14 kills and six service aces while Gentille picked up a team high 26 helpers.
Trinity Western head coach Ryan Hofer
"UBC beat us from the baseline. Their serve and pass game created a lot of trouble for us and put us on our heals. We just had a hard time recovering from that tonight. There are still things that we can get better at. The team that continues to improve to the end of the season will go the farthest."
- Katelyn Devaney finished the night with six blocks. Giving her a total of 132 in the season passing her career best, which was 127, which is third best in Canada West history. Devaney is three off of the Canada West single season record of 135, held by UBC-O's Katy Klomps and TWU's Alicia Perrin. Devaney currently holds three of the top seven single season records for blocks in a season.
- TWU's Alicia Perrin, 2010-2015, held the TWU and Canada West record with 512 blocks in a season.
The Spartans will next travel to meet the Thompson Rivers Wolfpack next weekend while the Thunderbirds host the Saskatchewan Huskies at War Memorial Gym next Friday and Saturday.The matches can be seen live on Canadawest.TV.