SPARTANS CAP SEASON WITH WEEKEND SWEEP AGAINST THOMPSON RIVERS

SPARTANS CAP SEASON WITH WEEKEND SWEEP AGAINST THOMPSON RIVERS

KAMLOOPS, B.C. – Trinity Western's women's volleyball team capped its regular season with 3-1 (25-18, 25-23, 21-25, 25-15) win over Thompson Rivers Saturday on the Warner Rentals court at the Tournament Capital Centre.

With the victory, the Spartans end the season with a 15-9 record and finish fifth overall in the Canada West standings. TWU will travel to play Alberta in the Canada West best-of-three quarter-finals, starting Friday in Edmonton.

With seven blocks, fifth-year middle Katelyn Devaney (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) capped a record-setting season and career, as she set the Canada West single-season mark for blocks, with 145 blocks, and the Canada West all-time career block record at 532. Devaney also had nine kills and five aces on the night.

Devaney finished the season with a conference-leading 1.56 blocks per set and was fifth in Canada West in hitting percentage, at .268.

Second-year outside Hilary Howe (Calgary) led the Spartans with 13 kills along with four aces to help TWU complete the weekend sweep of the WolfPack.

Mikayla Funk led TRU with a match-high 17 kills.

In the first set, after the WolfPack opened up an early lead (4-2) in the first set, the teams see-sawed, getting points until TWU took the lead at 9-7 and rolled to a 16-11 lead at the technical time out. Led by three kills from both Kriston Anton (Prince George, B.C.) and Howe, the Spartans took the opening set 25-18. TRU was led by Funk with three kills and five digs.

The second set started very similar to the first, but Thompson Rivers went on a 9-0 run to lead 16-7. TWU came out of the technical time out to score two of their own to threaten but that charge was thwarted by a big block from Kaitlin Lomas to make it 18-9. The Spartans battled back to cut the deficit to two points, at 23-21, and force the WolfPack to call a time. That did nothing to stem the tides, as TWU tallied the next four points to win the set.

Thompson Rivers bounced back in the third set. Leading 15-13, they suffered a blow as Windhorst suffered an ankle injury and was helped off the court. TWU tied things up at 19-19, but it was the WolfPack who prevailed 25-21 led by Funk's six kills and Yevgeniya Nyukhalova's four.

Moving to the fourth set, the WolfPack got to an early lead but by the time the teams reached the technical timeout, it was TWU holding a six point lead (16-10) as they scored four straight points going into the break. Down by 10 (21-11), went on a bit of a roll and cut the deficit to six (21-15) but couldn't draw any closer.

QUOTABLE
TWU Head Coach Ryan Hofer
"It was a little bit of a see saw back and forth (battle). I thought TRU had a plan and they came back. Then we came back, but then they came back. It was a little bit messy and a little scrambly, but it was good competitive ball."

NOTABLE
• The Spartans will be on the road for a Canada West playoff series for the first time in 13 years. TWU had hosted a playoff series in each of the previous 12 seasons.
• The last time TWU opened the playoffs on the road was in 2004-05, when the Spartans also had to travel to Edmonton to play Alberta. That year, the Pandas swept the best-of-three series, winning both matches in four sets.
• With four teams from Canada West earning a berth into the U SPORTS championships, the winner of next weekend's quarter-final series will qualify for the national tournament.
• First-year middle Avery Heppell (Langley, B.C.) finished the season second in Canada West with 1.38 blocks per set.
• TWU finished the season leading Canada West in both aces, with 2.31 per set, and blocks, with 3.13 per set.

NEXT UP
Canada West Quarter-Finals vs. Alberta (best-of-three series)
Game 1 – @ Alberta – Jan. 23 (3 p.m. PT)
Game 2 – @ Alberta – Jan. 24 (2 p.m. PT)
Game 3 – @ Alberta – Jan. 25 (12 p.m. PT) (if necessary)

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