Playing for a bronze medal can be a tricky proposition.
A team must set aside their disappointment of losing the chance to play for gold to refocus on the task at hand of winning the third-place game.
The Trinity Western Spartans women’s volleyball was less than 24 hours removed from a stinging 3-0 loss to the UBC Thunderbirds — the eventual gold medallists — at the U Sports women’s volleyball national championships over the weekend at Toronto’s Ryerson University.
And Sunday’s bronze medal game against the Montreal Carabins did not begin well with the Spartans quickly facing an 0-2 deficit after dropping the first two sets by identical 25-23 scores. But TWU rallied, wining 25-20, 25-21 and 15-11 to win the third bronze medal in program history. It was also the third consecutive year the program had medalled, having won gold in 2015 and silver last year.
“We showed a lot of resiliency, not only in that match but after a tough loss (the day before),” said Spartans coach Ryan Hofer. “With broken hearts, they came in and just wanted to end their season on a really high note.”
The coach said a few tweaks after the first two sets made the difference.
Sophie Carpentier led the Spartan attack with 19 kills and seven aces, registering 27.5 total points. Elizabeth Wendel added 15 kills, 10 digs and 17.5 total points.
The two graduating seniors were playing in their final university games and the pair combined to finish with more than 40 per cent of the Spartans points.
Earlier in the week, the pair were also named U Sports all-stars with Carpentier named a first team all-star while Wendel was a second team selection.
The Spartans had entered nationals seeded seventh but knocked off No. 2 McMaster in the quarter-finals.