LANGLEY, British Columbia – The No. 3 Trinity Western women's volleyball team continued its winning ways, earning its eighth straight win with a 3-1 (25-23, 22-25, 25-13, 25-15) win over Saskatchewan Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.
After splitting the first two sets, the Spartans found their rhythm in the third and fourth sets en route to a pair of convincing set wins.
As has been the song for much of the year, the Spartans (11-1) were led by the dominant attack of Sophie Carpentier (Ottawa) and Elly Wendel (Caronport, Sask.), who had 14 and 12 kills respectively, while each also added three aces.
Nikki Cornwall (Coquitlam, B.C.) guided TWU's offence to a .303 hitting percentage while collecting 37 assists and a team-high seven digs.
The Spartans had 14 aces and 12 serving errors while Saskatchewan had seven aces and 14 errors.
"Saskatchewan is getting better and they're improving and they really pushed us tonight," said Spartans coach Ryan Hofer, whose team earned a three-set win over the Huskies Friday. "They really forced us to bring up our 'A' game. I think our focus could have been a little bit better in that second set and I think we could have closed out the game, but Saskatchewan wasn't giving away any points today."
After the Spartans had held the lead for much of the opening set, the Huskies rallied late to tie it up 22-22. However, Saskatchewan was unable to earn a lead and TWU's Wendel earned the set for the Spartans with her sixth kill of the set. TWU hit .312 as a team, while the Huskies were held to .143. TWU's six serving errors to Saskatchewan's two kept the visitors close.
Marguerite Ferguson led Saskatchewan with five kills.
The Huskies took a 14-9 lead in the second set, but after a TWU timeout, the Spartans went on a 5-0 run to even the set. TWU, who featured both Hilary Howe (Calgary) and Jessica Bailey (Surrey, B.C.) to start the second set, took a two-point lead, 20-18 after a Bailey kill, only to see Saskatchewan respond with a 7-2 run to close out the set. The Huskies had their best set of the weekend, hitting .400 as a team.
"I believe that this team has depth and I believe if everyone is prepared and ready, our depth can help us out," Hofer said. "It didn't happen quite the way we had hoped this evening, but I think it's good experience for our younger athletes. These kids need to come in and get experience when the pressure is on and I believe these types of opportunities will translate to success down the road."
With their starting unit returning to the floor to open the third set, the Spartans took momentum back and built a 9-2 lead. From there, TWU cruised to a 12-point win on the strength of an offence that hit .444 and committed just one attacking error.
The fourth set was more of the same from a dominant Spartans side as they built a 16-10 lead at the technical timeout and, after that, their lead was never less than four points.
The Spartans are back at home next weekend as they host Thompson Rivers Jan. 13-14. The Huskies have a bye next week before hosting Alberta Jan. 20-21.
Game Notes: TWU has won 13 straight games against Saskatchewan...the Spartans only loss this year was a five-setter against Calgary in early November.