Dan Khavkin, Cougar Athletics
CALGARY- An absolutely bouncing Kenyon Court played as the venue for the weekend heavyweight battle between nationally ranked third and fourth-placed Mount Royal Cougars and Trinity Western Spartans, but it was the visitors who set the tone for the weekend, sweeping the Cougars on their home-court 3-0 (25-21, 25-14, 25-13).
MRU coach Shawn Sky commented on the slow start his team began the weekend with saying, "We need to perform a lot better than we did today. We need to have a better serving game and that will enable us to play a stronger defensive game tomorrow."
"They're a physical team and they took advantage of our poor serving game. We need to be us and get back to playing our system. If they get on top of you, they'll find a way to break you down." Sky noted on the competitiveness of the opponent.
MRU returned home after a four-game hiatus from home-court and brought their perfect 6-0 record in 2019 back to Calgary, but that streak was emphatically snapped by the visiting Spartans who have now won four of their last five, dropping only three sets in the process.
With the result of the match on Friday night, Mount Royal drops to 14-3 in their most heavy defeat of the season while the Trinity Western bump their record to 13-4.
The stage is also set Eric Leoppky to meet his counterpart Tyler Schmidt for the first time this season as the two are neck and neck in vital statistical categories with Leoppky owning the highest hit percentage and services aces per set in Canada West while Schmidt owns the highest total kill per set total.
Heavy net presence along with timely points separated the Spartans from MRU in the first set as they won the first set of the game 25-21.
TWU lead as high as 8-4 and continued their pace for the game's first point of the game, eventually building up a commanding 13-7 lead before sealing the set.
The Spartans carried the pace to take a commanding 2-0 lead; not trailing from the second set on as they cruised to a 25-14 win.
MRU struggled to get on a run and generate any form of attack in the second set, posing a 0.091 hit percentage to the strong 0.333 of the Spartans through two sets while also having even distribution on the attack down the roster while the Cougars relied heavily on Trent Mounter who had a game-high 12 kills.
The Cougars also didn't help their own cause, accumulating eight errors compared to the Spartans' one in the second half and ending the game with 20 compared to a calming 10 from TWU.
The momentum stayed with the Spartans to begin the third set like it did much of the game as they led throughout the entire third set to formulate the sweep of the Cougars with a 25-13 win in the third set.
First serve is set for 6 p.m. Saturday evening back at Kenyon Court.