LANGLEY, British Columbia – The No. 1 Trinity Western Spartans were impressive in claiming their fourth straight Canada West championship over the No.2 Mount Royal Cougars Saturday night at the Langley Events Centre. In a battle between the top two ranked teams in the nation, the Spartans never let the Cougars get going as TWU dominated the match 25-18, 25-22, and 25-15 to head into next week’s national championship as the probable No. 1 seed.
Mikayla Clay (Benterud) (Sherwood Park, Alta.) with 14 kills, and four digs, Meaghan Mealey (Calgary) with nine kills, and 14 digs, and Savannah Purdy (Victoria) with seven kills, and 10 digs led the Spartan attack. While Nyadholi Thokbuom (Calgary) with 11 kills, and six blocks, and Haley Roe (Airdrie, Alta.) with six kills, and nine digs led the Cougars. TWU’s Dora Komlodi (Calgary) finished the night with 31 set assists, and 10 digs, while MRU’s Quinn Pelland (Wanham, Alta.) with 26 set assists, eight digs, and six blocks running their respective offenses.
AS IT HAPPENED
The two teams were even early with TWU holding a 7-6 lead. The Spartans broke open the set with a 10-5 run to take a 17-11 lead and force the Cougars into their second time-out of the set. From there the teams played side-out ball as Trinity Western took the opening set 25-18. TWU hit at .162 (11-5-37), while MRU hit at .171 (12-6-35).
The second set was a game of runs. TWU jumped out to an early 5-1 lead, but then MRU went on a 12-4 to take a 13-9 lead midway through the set. The Spartans responded and tied the set at 16-16 with a 7-3 run. From there the two teams played side-out ball to 21-21, when the Spartans scored four of the last five points to take the second set 25-22. TWU hit at .200 (16-6-50), while MRU hit at .114 (8-3-44).
The third set was all TWU from start to finish. The Spartans jumped out to an early 6-2 lead and never looked back. TWU expanded their lead to 17-8 midway through the match. The Cougars never found their rhythm in the set as the Spartans closed out the match with an impressive 25-15 win. TWU hit at .290 (12-3-31) in the final set, while MRU hit at .061 (9-7-33).
Ryan Hofer – TWU Head Coach
“Are games against MRU are always exciting volleyball. We have a lot of joy and respect for each other. They are a fantastic team. They play with a lot of energy, and are a classy and respectful group who we enjoy stepping out on the floor against.”
“It’s been an exciting journey. We have been working on our hearts and on our character and investing in each other’s lives all season. We wanted this team to be “made for more” than just winning or losing. We wanted to learn and grow, we wanted to make an impact in everything that we did in each other’s lives and this team has done a remarkable job with that.”
On Mikayla Clay (Benterud)
“Mikayla this play-off season has just been getting better and better and better. She is carrying a heavy load offensively for us and she is finding the floor with her attack. She is doing a really nice job on her slide and she was a force tonight. She has done a lot of really good work on her step attack and it is nice to see her reap the rewards from that.”
“They have some really good swingers and some players who can really tug on the ball. So we just tried to position ourselves in a manner that we could get a good percentage of them.”
On next week’s championship.
“Every single week we want to grow. I’m hoping that we can continue to learn and be great teammates, and that we can enjoy what comes next.”
Shane Smith – Mount Royal Head Coach
“They are such a great team. They are number one for a reason, and they played great tonight. I’m sure that there are lots of balls that we would like back. I think that we can play better, but we battled hard and I’m proud of our effort tonight.”
“They did a good job of putting us into trouble. We have lots of great passers and lots of great attackers that we can usually find pretty good solutions to, but they made it difficult for us tonight, so you have to give them credit.”
Looking to next week’s national championship.
“We need to just get some rest and keep doing what we have been doing over the last couple of months. We’ve been on a good run and we will try and get back to it next week.”
• The Spartans are now 29-3 lifetime, and 17-1 in conference play against the Cougars. TWU is 9-1 in their last 10 match-ups against MRU.
• The Spartans defeated Mount Royal 3-1 in the U SPORTS gold medal match last year in Calgary. It was TWU’s second national title, 2014-15.
• TWU has won four straight Canada West championships and five of the last seven. This is MRU’s first Canada West final.
• Only two other teams have won four or more straight Canada West titles. Victoria holds the CW record with five straight, 1986-1990, and Manitoba had four straight in 1966-1969.
• TWU finished the night hitting at .212 (39-14-118), while MRU finished at .116 (9-7-33).
• The Spartans also had the edge in service aces at 5-4, and digs 64-53, while the Cougars had the edge in total blocks 8-6.
• Trinity Western advanced to the Canada West final with a 2-0 series win over Winnipeg, while Mount Royal advanced with a 2-0 series win over Manitoba.
• TWU finished the season No. 1 in CW at 22-2, while MRU finished No. 2 at 19-5.
The Spartans and the Cougars are heading to the University of British Columbia in Vancouver for the U SPORTS championships. The eight-team tournament begins Friday, March 17, 2023.
About Spartan Athletics
As official members of U SPORTS, the Spartans currently compete in 13 sports in the Canada West conference, including women’s and men’s soccer, volleyball, basketball, hockey, cross country and track & field, as well as women’s rugby sevens. TWU also competes as an independent team in men’s rugby. Since TWU entered U SPORTS in 1999, the Spartans have won 13 U SPORTS team championships and 32 Canada West team championships.
This article is shared as part of our Fair Dealing Policy. For the original article, please visit: https://gospartans.ca/news/2023/3/12/womens-volleyball-spartans-sweep-the-cougars-to-claim-canada-west-gold.aspx
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