Defending national champion Trinity Western Spartans opened their Canada West regular season with a straight sets win (25-9, 25-17, 25-23) over the Alberta Golden Bears on Friday at Saville Community Sports Centre in Edmonton.
The Spartans, who were ranked first in the Canada West preseason coaches poll, spread out their potent attack as fifth-year outside hitter Jacob Kern, fourth-year outside hitter Eric Loeppky, and second-year outside hitter Jesse Elser recorded 10 kills each in TWU’s victory.
TWU Head Coach Ben Josephson noted “it’s always nice to get the first win of the Canada West season under our belts, and I was pumped how we did it.”
“The first set we played was one of the best volleyball sets I have ever seen in my coaching career, Josephson added.
“We were great in every phase, we played really fast, clean, aggressive and smart all around.
It was also a rematch of the 2017-18 Canada West Championship game, in which the Spartans won 3-1 on March 10, 2018.
Trinity Western Spartans womens volleyball team are a puzzle that the University of Alberta Pandas have had a hard time solving lately, with the Spartans earning a hard-fought four-set win (22-25, 25-22, 25-23, 25-20), Friday night in Edmonton.
Alberta is 0-5 against defending Canada West champion Trinity Western over the last three seasons and 2-8 in their last 10 meetings, including playoffs.
Fourth-year outside hitter Hilary Howe led TWU with 18 kills, while second-year Savannah Purdy had 16 kills. Mikaelyn Sych had seven kills and four blocks, while Langley’s Avery Heppell had five kills and five blocks.
Dora Komlodi earned 41 assists in her first-ever Canada West start as a setter.
TWU also had four players in double digits in digs, with Anasah Odoom and Emma Gamache colleting 17 each, while Komlodi picked up 15 and Howe had 14.
TWU Head Coach Ryan Hofer said he was “really proud of the team to come into a gym that is always tough to play in and against a strong Alberta team and come out with a win.
“There were moments when you could tell it was one of our first times playing together as a group, but they settled in and really did some good things at key times.