LANGLEY, British Columbia – The No. 3 Trinity Western Spartans remained perfect on the season with a 3-1 victory over the visiting No. 5 Alberta Pandas Friday night at the Langley Events Centre in Langley, B.C. The win improves the Spartans to 6-0 in Canada West play, while the loss drops the Pandas to 4-2.
TWU third year outside Hilary Howe (Calgary) with 15 kills, and 10 digs, fourth year middle Mikaelyn Sych (Airdrie, Alta.) with 13 kills and six blocks, and rookie outside hitter Savannah Purdy (Victoria) with 10 kills and 13 digs led the Spartans. Kory White was dominant for the Pandas, she finished with 27 kills, and two aces in a losing cause.
The opening two sets were about serving and passing. In the opening set Alberta used seven aces to take control of the set early on their way to a 25-19 win after jumping out to a 7-0 lead to start the set. In the second set it was Trinity Western who used four aces to go with four blocks to dominate the early part of the set, leading 18-5, on their way to a 25-12 win.
The third set was back-and-forth. The two teams were tied at 12-12, when Alberta went on a 4-0 run to lead 16-12 at the break. TWU quickly tied the set back-up at 17-17. The Pandas once again took a three point lead, 20-17, and once again the Spartans responded to tie the set at 21-21. The two teams matched each other point-for-point to 25-25. The Spartans Savannah Purdy had the kill to give TWU the 26-25 lead, with the final point going to the Spartans on a Panda attacking error.
The final set was even the two teams were tied at 13-13, when Avery Heppell went on a serving run to lead 16-13 and force the Pandas into a timeout. Alberta broke the TWU serve and Jess Stoud served the Pandas back to a tie set 16-16. A kill from Erin Corbett gave Alberta an 18-16 lead. But from there the Spartans were able to take control. Kills by Hilary Howe, Ashtyn McKenzie (Vernon, B.C.) and Mikaelyn Sych gave the Spartans a 19-18 lead. TWU extended the lead to 22-18 before taking the set and the match 25-21.
TWU Head Coach Ryan Hofer
"It was a real battle out there tonight. Both teams wanted to get the W, it was a chess match. They would take away our strengths and we would have to find another way to score. We would take away a few of their strengths and they would have to find some other way to put points on the board. I felt it was two teams just continually finding ways to test each other.
On the team's strength from the end line.
"Our serving really kept us in the game. Putting pressure on them and making them pass the ball and put them out of system."
- The Spartans finished the preseason 9-0 and are now 15-0 overall on the season.
- TWU out blocked Alberta 11-7 and had the edge in serving 11-8. After the first set the Pandas had only one ace, while the Spartans had nine aces.
The Spartans will now head to Winnipeg to take on the University of Winnipeg Wesmen. Game time on Friday, November 9 and Saturday, November 10 is set for 4 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. CT. The both matches can be seen live on Canadawest.TV.