Women’s Volleyball (CIS National Championships)
Thursday, March 01, 2007
TWU Spartans (3) vs. the University of Manitoba Bisons (2)
(25-18, 17-25, 25-15, 20-25, 15-9)
SPARTANS ADVANCE TO SEMIFINAL AT NATIONALS
-TWU defeats #3 ranked Manitoba in five set match
CALGARY – The Trinity Western University Spartans had a tough task ahead of them on Thursday afternoon in the opening round of the CIS National Championships as they faced the University of Manitoba Bisons who had been nationally ranked number one for a large portion of the regular season. Despite being seeded three spots lower than the number three seeded Bisons, the Spartans defeated the Bisons 3-2 (25-18, 17-25, 25-15, 20-25, 15-9) in an entertaining five set match to earn their first ever berth to the national semifinal where they will meet the number two seeded University of Laval Rouge et Or.
“It feels incredible. This is probably one of the biggest wins that this team has ever won - it’s a landmark and stepping stone for our program,” said TWU Head Coach Ryan Hofer whose team, with the win tonight, has guaranteed themselves a fourth place or better finish for their best ever showing at the national tournament.
Photo: David Moll, Little Guy Media.
It was an interesting match as none of the five sets finished with a spread closer than five points - the teams alternated large margin set wins throughout the match. “I’ve never really seen that before. One team would go on a run and the other team would go on a run - it was weird,” added Hofer.
Playoff nerves appeared to affect both teams as the first set started off sloppy on both sides. The teams traded errors and broken plays in the early stages of the game with Manitoba taking an 8-6 lead into the first technical timeout. Out of the break, TWU started to gain some momentum as their hitters began to find their form and Manitoba was forced to call a timeout with the score 14-10 for TWU. The Bisons were unable to sustain any type of pressure and the Spartans continued to build on their lead to take a convincing first set decision, 25-18.
Manitoba came out stronger in the second and jumped out to an 8-3 lead, largely due to their strong presence at the net. They stretched their lead to six (10-4) out of the first break and TWU used one of their timeouts to talk things over. The Spartans began to chip away at the lead and found themselves within one (12-13) midway through the second but they would never take the lead in this set as it was the Bisons turn to take a set in a big way with their 25-17 win to tie the match up at one game a piece.
Photo: David Moll, Little Guy Media
Despite Manitoba leading 8-7 at the first break, the third frame was all TWU. Out of the first technical timeout, the Spartans went on an 11-3 run to go up 18-11 and force the Bisons to use their second timeout of the set. Manitoba didn’t have an answer for TWU’s attack and were unable to pierce TWU’s stringy defense. By the time the frame was over, the Spartans had stretched their lead to 10 to take the third set, 25-15 and go up 2-1 in the match.
In the fourth Manitoba held a five point lead for most of the frame and responded every time TWU gained a bit of ground. Although the fourth set was the closest and most entertaining, the Bisons stuck with the theme of the match and won the fourth set, 25-20, to force a fifth game.
With National Championships hopes at stake, both teams were looking for the win in the fifth and deciding set, but it was the Spartans who jumped out to an early 4-1 lead off of a strong attack. Manitoba did not help their cause as the hurt themselves with attack errors and were down an overwhelming 2-8 at the first break. TWU would maintain their six point cushion and go on to take the fifth set, 15-9, to win the first round match 3-2.
Photo: David Moll, Little Guy Media
“We passed very well tonight. In the games that we did win we sided out very well. We served reasonably tough, our hitting percentage could have been a little bit higher, but we served them tough and it gave us position to get on the ball and get blocks up,” added Coach Hofer on what he liked about his team’s performance tonight.
The Spartans were led by player of the game, fifth year, leftside Jodi Schaufele (Delta, B.C.), who surpassed the 900 career kill mark with her tied match high of 11 kills to go along with 10 digs and two blocks. All-Canadian teammate, fourth year middle, Liz Spear (Cloverdale, B.C.), tallied 10 kills and five blocks while fourth year leftside, Alicia Van Huizen (Surrey, B.C.), recorded 10 kills and 12 digs. Fourth year libero, Julie Blackburn (Surrey, B.C.), led all players with 25 digs.
For the Bisons, Rookie of the Year, Ashley Voth, swung for 10 kills and added 14 digs for the double-double, while third year middle, Erin Nieuwenburg, contributed 11 kills and five blocks.
Looking ahead to the semifinal match up, Coach Hofer said they “are going to spend some time looking at some game tape. See what we can do to minimize [Laval’s] strengths and capitalize on our strengths. There are some little things that we can execute better. Whether it’s position, just making sure that we are not giving a team free points.”
The Spartans will face the University of Laval Rouge et Or on Friday, March 2nd at 5 p.m. in the first semifinal match of the tournament.
Match Notes: On the attack, the Spartans were 51 for 150 for an efficiency of 12.7%, while the Bisons were 38 for 138 for an efficiency of 7.2%...On defense, TWU dug 72 balls compared to Manitoba’s 65...The Spartans committed 11 service errors to go with seven service aces, while the Bisons recorded 10 service errors and three service aces...all of TWU’s matches are being broadcasted live on Spartan Web Radio at www.spartanwebradio.ca...
-Jamie Born, Sports Information Assistant-