The No. 1-ranked Trinity Western women’s volleyball team bounced back from its first loss of the season to earn a 3-1 (19-25, 25-16, 25-17, 25-23) win over visiting Saskatchewan Saturday, Nov. 23, at the Langley Events Centre.
After the Huskies took the opening match of the weekend series and then nabbed the first set of Saturday’s contest, the Spartans responded in emphatic fashion, winning the final three sets of the weekend to improve their record to 9-1 on the season. Saskatchewan, who had climbed to within a game of the Spartans after Friday’s win, drops to 7-3.
Hilary Howe led a balanced TWU attack, as she earned 16 kills, while Ansah Odoom and Avery Heppell of Langley had 11 kills each and Savannah Purdy had 10 kills. Heppell also had a team-high nine blocks.
TWU setter Dora Komlodi led the Spartans with 37 assists while Emma Gamache, Howe and Purdy had 10 digs apiece.
The Huskies Olivia Mattern had a team-high 10 kills, while Emily Koshinsky had a match-high five aces for the visitors.
Winning the battle from the service line early on, the Huskies took the first set 25-19 while enjoying a 4-0 edge in aces. Conversely, the Spartans committed five serving errors to Saskatchewan’s two. TWU had a 12-9 edge in kills, but the Huskies held off the Spartans to win the set by six.
The second was an entirely different story, as the Spartan responded in a big way, turning the tables and winning the set 25-16. The Spartans hit a match-high .462 in the set while holding Saskatchewan to .103.
With momentum on their side, TWU continued to roll in the third set, winning 25-17. The Spartans offence once again found its groove, earning 15 kills and hitting .444. Saskatchewan hit just .069 and was held to eight kills in the set.
The fourth set saw TWU take an early lead and hold an edge throughout much of the frame. A late surge from the Huskies brought Saskatchewan within one point, at 21-20, but the visitors were unable to even the score. The teams traded points down the stretch before the Spartans took the set and the match by two points.
The Spartans had a 12.5 to 9 edge in blocks. Saskatchewan had the advantage in aces, winning the battle on the baseline 8-3.
TWU Head Coach Ryan Hofer said the team “kind of found ourselves near the end of the first set and we started the second and third sets really strong. We found our serve and our receive. In the first set we gave up 15 points in a whole variety of areas, but we were able to minimize that in the next three sets and we really played team volleyball.”
Howe has now had at least 11 kills in all 10 of the Spartans matches this season.
TWU came into Friday’s match winning 17 of their last 18 games against the Huskies, dating back to January 29, 2011.
· The Huskies were trying to do something they haven’t done in more than 17 years, as the last time Saskatchewan earned a weekend sweep over TWU was Jan. 4-5, 2002.
Up next: the Spartans will close out the semester next weekend with a road trip to play Calgary (Nov. 28-29).