KELOWNA, B.C. – The No. 3-ranked Trinity Western women's volleyball team won their third straight match to start the season, beating UBC Okanagan 3-0 (25-11, 25-19, 28-26) Friday.
After winning the first two sets in convincing fashion, the Spartans rallied from a 22-16 deficit in the third set to win the match. The Spartans scored seven out of the next eight points to tie things up 23-23. After UBCO (0-3) fended off match points at 24-23 and 25-24, the Spartans eventually closed the match out at 28-26.
While not a single Spartans would finish in double digits kill wise, first-year Savannah Purdy (Victoria) would finish with nine kills along with seven digs for the Spartans.
Setter Brie King (Langley) finished with 20 assists along with a game-high nine digs for the visitors along with two blocks. Mikaelyn Sych (Airdrie, Alta.) had six kills and seven aces, while hitting .857 out of the middle.
Rookie Sydney Grills was the offensive leader for the third straight match for the Heat, racking up a game-high 12 kills on a .259 hitting percentage. Setter Natalie Livingston continued her strong play for the Kelowna program, tallying 19 assists along with eight digs and five blocks.
The Spartans finished with more kills than the Heat (31-28) along with having less service errors (9-5) and receiving errors (12-7).
TWU had 12 aces while the Heat had just seven of their own from the service line.
It was a slow start for the Heat to open up their home season as they led early in the first set at 5-4 but the nationally ranked Spartans came roaring back to build a 16-6 technical timeout lead. The errors were the issue for the home team as they had 13 total errors in the opening set. They had as many kills (7) as they would have hitting errors compared to TWU who had seven kills and just two hitting mistakes.
Just after the technical timeout in the second frame, UBCO trailed by just a point at 16-15, following back-to-back Spartans errors. TWU was not be shaken however, scoring seven of the eight points that followed to build a commanding 23-16 lead en route to a six-point win.
The third set was the most entertaining and pressure-packed set of the match, with the Heat holding the early lead and the Spartans mounting a late comeback. The home team held a 22-16 advantage but TWU scored seven points out of eight to tie things up 23-23. After another Spartans point the Heat had to fend off match point with a big Ann Richards swing from the left side to knot things up 24-24. Stephanie Temme saved another match point at 25-24 Spartans and another Richards kill gave the Heat a chance to extend the match.
However, back-to-back kills from Hilary Howe (Calgary) and King gave TWU another match point opportunity and this time they would capitalize thanks to a service ace from Sych.
TWU Head Coach Ryan Hofer
"I'm very pleased with the team's performance tonight. We started strong and played really well and worked really hard from the baseline to make UBCO play the ball. We struggled a little bit in the third set, but I was impressed with the team that they never gave up and they worked through it mentally and were able to regroup. A couple people then went back to the baseline and did a great job. Michaelyn had an outstanding match tonight, Brie was solid and Savanah was very good for us. We had a lot of good play from a lot of people."
• Including preseason, the Spartans are now 12-0 in 2018-19.
• The Spartans lost both regular season games against the Heat last year, falling 3-0 and 3-1.
• Purdy has led TWU in kills in each of the Spartans last two outings.
The Heat and Spartans will be back on the court again on Saturday night with first serve going at 5 pm. PT.
Recognized for quality, TWU has received seven consecutive A+ rankings for Quality of Teaching and Learning, holds three Canada Research Chairs, and wins national championships in CIS sports. More importantly, lives are changed at TWU through its whole-person, Christ-centred approach to education. With a wide array of undergraduate, graduate, and adult degree-completion programs, TWU equips leaders of character and competence to make a positive impact in the lives of others.
About Spartan Athletics
As official members of U SPORTS, the Spartans currently compete in 10 sports in the Canada West conference, including women's and men's soccer, volleyball, basketball, cross country and track & field. TWU also competes in the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) in men's hockey. Since TWU entered U SPORTS in 1999, the Spartans have won 11 U SPORTS team championships and 25 Canada West team championships.