WINNIPEG – Winnipeg's women's volleyball team suffered through a game-changing stretch in the fourth set that turned a potential upset into a loss, as the No. 3-ranked Trinity Western Spartans survived with a 3-1 (19-25, 25-9, 25-18, 25-23) victory in a Canada West conference match Saturday night at the Duckworth Centre.
At one point it looked like the Wesmen were well on their way to forcing a fifth set, taking a 21-10 lead on an Emma Parker kill that had the home team fired up and the visitors trying to find solid footing.
That's when the Spartans struck, tearing off 10 straight points to bring the Wesmen lead down to one. Still, the Wesmen regrouped and won the next two points to stretch their lead to 23-20 before the Spartans put together one more run, winning the match's final five points to stay undefeated at a perfect 8-0.
Four Spartans posted double digits in digs with Emma Gamache (Abbotsford, B.C.) notching a match-high 17. Howe had 13 to go with four aces, and McKenzie and first-year Olivia Heinen had 10 each. For the second straight night the first-year setter Heinen got the start and had another strong showing, putting up 46 assists to build upon her 43-assist night Friday.
Emma Parker recorded her fourth double-double of the season with 12 kills and 14 digs, her fifth match in five this season with double-digit digs. Jessica Andjelic and Boughton both had career-highs for digs with 14 and 11, respectively. Parker and Kalena Schulz both had a team-high three aces.
TWU hit .257 compared to Winnipeg's .104.
Ryan Hofer – TWU Coach
"I just thought our team did a good job of staying optimistic of what could happen if we just start to do things over and over really, really well. Heinen went back there and went on a really nice serving run, people went in and contributed and got some kills for us. We fought hard on defence and didn't let the ball hit the floor. It was a lot of fun.
"The battles are great. With comebacks like this, though, now that we've done it a couple of times it kind of scares me because I think the girls sometimes think 'Yeah, we can do it.' As a coach, I never want to be in that scenario where we have to fight back like that. I want us to play well from the get-go."
Diane Scott – Winnipeg Coach
"We were playing great. It's still a learning curve for the inexperience of this team. There were some bad decisions and sheer panic, because all (TWU) did was serve the ball over the net. That's an obstacle that we needed this moment to build off of. For us to dominate that set after being down 2-1 that was a huge positive.
"This weekend was still very positive in so many ways. We had some big performances. I was happy with Kely (Warmington) coming in and getting some big blocks and T-Bo (Taylor Boughton) making some big plays because we need our middle to give us more because we're depending a whole bunch on our outside hitters and we're not going to go far with that."
• Including the preseason, TWU is now 17-0 this season.
• TWU has only played in a fifth set twice in their 17 matches this year.
• Last year the Spartans beat Winnipeg in three sets on both nights in their weekend series.
TWU is back on the road next weekend when the Spartans travel to play at Saskatchewan Nov. 16-17. The Wesmen hit the road for the first time this season next weekend when they head to Kamloops, B.C., for a pair of matches against the Thompson Rivers Wolfpack.
About Spartan Athletics
As official members of U SPORTS, the Spartans currently compete in 10 sports in the Canada West conference, including women's and men's soccer, volleyball, basketball, cross country and track & field. TWU also competes in the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) in men's hockey. Since TWU entered U SPORTS in 1999, the Spartans haAve won 11 U SPORTS team championships and 25 Canada West team championships.