LANGLEY, B.C. – The No. 5-ranked Trinity Western women's volleyball team secured second place in the Canada West standings with a 3-1 (18-25, 25-22, 25-22, 25-16) win over Manitoba on senior night Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.
Hilary Howe (Calgary) led the Spartans with 15 kills and six blocks to go with 16 digs.
Micaylee Pucilowski (Kelowna, B.C.), who was one of four graduating seniors for TWU, had 12 kills while fellow seniors Kristin Anton (Prince George, B.C.) had six kills and five blocks, Ashtyn McKenzie (Vernon, B.C.) had four kills, three blocks and eight digs, and Alison Quiring (Brandon, Man.) had four kills and one dig.
With the win, the Spartans finished the year with a 19-5 record and are second overall. TWU will open the Canada West playoffs with a quarter-final series starting Thursday at the LEC. First serve is at 6 p.m. (PT).
The loss drops the Bisons to 12-12 on the season.
For the Bisons, it was Kearley Abbott leading the way with nine kills and five blocks, while Josie Abbott had seven kills. Kelsey Jordan had a team-high four aces.
TWU setter Brie King (Langley) had 30 assists and a match-high five aces, which ties a Spartans record for aces in a four-set match. Libero Emma Gamache (Abbotsford, B.C.) had 24 digs.
The Spartans finished the night hitting .155, while Manitoba hit .099. TWU had a 13-10 edge in aces.
The Bisons had the lead throughout the first set and earned the seven-point win despite needing only eight kills. The Spartans countered with 12 kills, but had nine attacking errors and hit just .064. Manitoba finished the set hitting .135 but had five aces and two blocks. TWU was held to one ace and didn't earn a single block.
The second set was all Spartans early on, as TWU took a 9-3 lead after a block from Anton. TWU pushed its lead to 16-11 at the technical timeout before going ahead 20-14. However, the Bisons chipped away at the TWU lead and got within a single point, at 22-21. But the Spartans responded late, scoring three of the last four points to take the set. Howe had 10 kills through two sets, while Findlay had a team-high five. TWU hit .139 in the second set, while Manitoba hit .086.
TWU carried momentum into the third set, building a 13-7 lead. Similar to the second set, Manitoba got back into the set and eventually took a 20-18 lead. However, TWU responded late, finishing the set on a 7-2 run to win by three points. The Spartans had seven aces in the set while Manitoba had two.
The fourth set was back and forth in the early stages, with the teams finding their way to a 12-12 tie. After that, TWU took over, building a 16-13 lead at the break and then extending its edge to 20-14 after a kill from Pucilowski. From there, TWU buried the Bisons, winning the fourth set by nine points.
• Including the regular season and playoffs, the Spartans are now 21-21 all-time against Manitoba.
• TWU had an 11-9 edge in blocks.
Ryan Hofer – TWU Head Coach
"I felt that there was a good energy out there. I felt that we used a lot of strengths of this team. There were a lot of people contributing and with that, we showed a lot of heart and a lot of fight.
"Kristin did an outstanding job. Micaylee got out there and banged balls, Alison performed her role exceptionally well and Ashtyn had yet another strong game. I thought Brie did a remarkable job of just really distributing the ball and finding the right people and getting people involved and using people's strengths."
The Spartans will host a Canada West Best-of-Three Quarter-Final Series, starting Thursday at the Langley Events Centre. First serve will be at 6 p.m. (PT).
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 have won 11 U SPORTS team championships and 25 Canada West team championships.