WINNIPEG — Manitoba upset No. 8 Trinity Western in four sets (20-25, 25-19, 25-19, 25-17) Friday at the Investors Group Athletic Centre.
The loss snaps the Spartans 10-match winning streak. With the home win, Manitoba moves to a record of 6-9 while TWU drops to 11-4.
The fourth and final set turned the Bisons way midway through the set after consecutive kills from the Bisons put Manitoba up 10-8. Ayiya Ottogo continued a Bisons point streak as the Spartans struggled to get control on serve receive. Eventually, a left-side kill by Ottogo brought the hosts to set point and a strike off the hands clinched the fourth set for the Bisons.
Katie Devaney (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) equaled her career-high for blocks, with 13, while Avery Heppell (Langley, B.C.) and Hilary Howe (Calgary) had 12 kills apiece to lead TWU. Libero Rachel Flink (Surrey, B.C.) had a career-high 22 digs. Her previous best was 20, which she recorded Jan. 20, 2017 against UBC Okanagan.
Kearley Abbott had a match-high 18 kills to lead Manitoba.
Bisons maintained a solid wall in the first set but couldn't capitalize off their own opportunities. Trinity Western led in scoring for much of the set. A well-battled rally ended with the Spartans clinching set point with a five-point edge.
A nine-point streak enabled the Herd to pull ahead of the Spartans midway through the second set. A back pocket kill by the Spartans broke the scoring streak and enabled TWU to come within four points for the first time since the start of the set. Laura Findlay had an impressive spike, serve, kill combo late in the game, bringing the Bisons within two of set point at 23-16 before eventually closing it out with a six-point win.
Both teams came to play in the third set, back-and-forth play lent neither team the opportunity to get an early lead. However, Manitoba pulled ahead thanks to a string of important kills.
The Spartans gave up a serve receive late, enabling the Bisons to pull within set point. Emily Erickson made a notable middle kill to secure the third set win for the Herd.
Head Coach Ryan Hofer
"I thought the Bisons just outplayed us tonight. We did some things on our side of the net to make it tougher on ourselves. We struggled with our efficiency numbers tonight. Now we need to move on and bounce back and see if we can respond tomorrow."
Both teams will face each other again tomorrow at 5:45 p.m. (PT).