Ladies see streak snapped
Women’s volleyball splits weekend series, drops first in 37 days.
The Spartans women’s volleyball team’s banner year was interrupted by a setback on the weekend, as TWU split a two match series at UBC-Okanagan. The Spartans went into the weekend riding a nine match winning streak and looked to continue their run of momentum into a pair of road dates with the Heat. The Spartans were on a very impressive run of 21 consecutive sets won but saw that streak come to a halt in the first set of the Friday matchup.
Both teams looked sluggish out of the gate but the Spartans especially so. The Spartans committed several service errors that were compounded by mistakes at the attack line, some poor passes and a few poor sets. In spite of the sloppiness, the Spartans were able to win points and keep pace with UBC-O thanks to some great attacks by Royal Richardson and Amy Ott. The Spartans were also helped along by the Heat’s own errors which allowed the two teams to trade points and keep pace with each other. The Spartans unfortunately became unraveled again by mistakes and were unable to force matching mistakes down the stretch from UBC-O, as the Heat closed on a 9-4 run to snap TWU’s streak.
The Spartans rebounded very impressively in the second and showed off the firepower and talent that had them ranked at number one. The two teams went back and forth in a close set until Amber Brown got to the service line with the Spartans down 12-13. The Spartans unleashed an exhilarating 13-0 run including kills from Richardson (of course) as well as a lovely dump set from Kelci French and a huge swing from Alicia Perrin. Brown tallied a pair of aces to help the Spartans polish off one of its best looking runs of the season.
The big second set proved to be fool’s gold however, as the Spartans were unable to carry the wave of points toward the end of the match. The Spartans played close in the fourth once again and fought off one set point at the end; however, Perrin hit into a two-lady block to score the decisive point for the Heat. The Spartans then wilted again in the fourth set as a close battle turned into a mini blowout as the Heat stretched a 13-13 tie into an impressive 25-17 win to take the match.
The loss and the end of TWU’s win streak was sobering, but the Spartans deserve credit for rebounding well the next night. The Spartans returned the favour with a four set win that included very impressive set wins of seven and 12 points. The Spartans one set loss was rather disconcerting as TWU only managed 12 points in the second frame. However, the Spartans were able to escape from Kelowna by winning a sloppy, error-filled fourth set to take the match and start a new win streak.
The loss dropped TWU out of the top spot in Canada West and into a second place tie with Alberta. The loss will likely also cost TWU its coveted number one ranking. That shouldn’t be a problem though; the top four teams from Canada West will qualify for nationals and the Spartans have already proven they can beat the likely new number one UBC.
The Spartans will take a four week break for the Christmas season and will re-emerge with a four game home standing starting with Brandon on January 10.