Scott Stewart, Spartans Athletics
LANGLEY, B.C. – The unranked Trinity Western Spartans earned a straight set win over No. 8 Mount Royal Cougars tonight at the Langley Events Centre, in Langley, B.C. The 25-17, 25-19, and 25-12 victory improves TWU to 4-3, while the loss drops MRU to 4-3.
The Spartans were dominant at the net, out-blocking the Cougars 8-to-2 and out hitting MRU at 26.2 per cent (32-10-84) to 7.7 per cent (27-20-91).
The Spartans had a very balanced attack. Avery Heppell with nine kills and three blocks, and Hilary Howe with six kills and two blocks leading the way. While Alex Donaghy with 12 kills and Chantel Park with seven kills led the Cougars.
TWU's Brie O'Reilly led the Spartans with 22 assists, while Allisa Dandenhault led the Cougars with 13 assists. TWU's Linda Damerau led all players with 14 digs.
TWU had a strong start to the match as the Spartans jumped out to an early 7-1 lead. After a timeout the Cougars took six straight points to close to one point, trailing 7-6. The Spartans reestablished control of the set taking a 16-11 lead into the break, before closing out the set 25-17.
The second set saw the Cougars jump out to the early 7-4 lead. Then with TWU trailing 9-5, the Spartans Micaylee Puciloweski had five straight serves to give TWU a 10-9 lead. The two squads went back-and-forth and were tied at 16-16, when the Spartans took over. TWU took nine of the next 12 points to take the set 25-19 and lead MRU two sets to none.
The Spartans controlled the final set from start to finish. TWU led 8-3 early and expanded the lead to 16-10 at the technical timeout. The Cougars were unable to challenge down the stretch as TWU took the final set 25-12.
Head Coach Ryan Hofer
"Mount Royal is a top ten team, so we needed to play good volleyball and put pressure on them. They have a couple of key components that we had to be concerned with. We had to find a way to Manage Alex Donaghy's numbers and her volume. She is a good player and we know that she is going to get a lot of chances on her team. So we had to figure out ways to slow her down and stop her."
"Brie did a really nice job of distributing the ball. We knew that we needed to keep Mount Royal off balance by not being predictable. By running a balanced offence, we are pretty difficult to stop, when other teams do not know where the ball is going to go."
- The last time the two teams met was in the Canada West quarter finals which TWU took two games to none MRU.
- With tonight's win the Spartans are now unbeaten against the Cougars in Canada West conference play, as TWU now sits at 13-0 against MRU, 15-0 including post season.
The Spartans and the Cougars will match up again Saturday evening at 5 p.m. PT in Langley, BC. The game will be broadcast live on Canadawest.tv