LANGLEY, B.C. – The No. 10-ranked Spartans opened the winter semester by earning their ninth consecutive victory with a 3-0 (25-19, 25-8, 25-16) win over Winnipeg Friday at the Langley Events Centre.
Linda Damerau (Furthen, Germany) had a team-leading nine kills to go with 10 digs, while Hilary Howe (Calgary) added eight kills as TWU (10-3) knocked off the Wesmen (1-12) in short order. The Spartans hit .264 as a team, while holding Winnipeg to .056 en route to their 25th straight regular season victory over the Wesmen.
Winnipeg finally found their rhythm early in the third set, grabbing a 10-2 lead, but TWU responded with a 10-0 run before rolling to a nine-point win.
Winnipeg's Kalena Schulz had a team-high nine-kills.
TWU setter Brie King (Langley) had a match-high 27 assists.
With Howe tallying seven kills in the opening set, the Spartans took an early lead before running away with a 25-19 win. Hitting .385 as a team, TWU was in control throughout, keeping momentum against a Wesmen side that hit .280. Schulz had four kills to lead the Wesmen.
The Spartans tallied the first five points of the second set to spark a lopsided win that saw TWU earn five aces while holding Winnipeg to a -.152 hitting percentage. The Spartans needed just four kills to win the set.
Winnipeg responded with a quick start in the third set, opening an 8-2 lead and forcing the Spartans to call their first timeout of the night. The Wesmen scored two more points out of the break to take a 10-2 advantage. However, TWU roared back with a 10-0 run to take a two-point lead. From there, TWU never trailed.
The Spartans serve played a major role in the victory as they had 13 aces to Winnipeg's three.
Head Coach Ryan Hofer
"The first game back after Christmas is always a bit of a challenge as you're shaking off some rust and you're finding your groove and your rhythm. We ended the last semester on a bit of a roll and this was about getting into a rhythm again and not allowing certain runs while measuring a new team.
"Winnipeg made a few adjustments in the third set and kudos to them because they did a bunch of things early on that were really good on their side. So, I'm really proud of the girls for not panicking. Brie went back to the line and rattled off a few serves to get us going and from there, we got some good touches and good defends and good swings on the ball and we were able to retake control."
• The last time the Wesmen took a match from the Spartans was Nov. 13, 2004.
• Last year, TWU won both matches in straight sets.
• Over the Christmas break, the Spartans earned a four-set exhibition win over No. 1-ranked Montreal.
The Spartans and Wesmen return to the court Saturday with the rematch at 5 p.m. (PT) at the LEC.