Tanner Michalenko, Saskatchewan Sports Information Student Assistant
SASKATOON – The 2017 Canada West bronze medalist Trinity Western Spartans opened the 2017-18 Canada West women's volleyball season with a close 3-2 (25-17, 21-25, 21-25, 25-12, 15-11) match victory over the University of Saskatchewan Huskies Friday night at the PAC.
It was the first match of the season for both teams.
After trading the first two sets, a deciding fifth set was needed.
Both teams traded points back and forth in the deciding set until Brie O'Reilly took over the service for the Spartans. O'Reilly would serve four straight points for her team to give them a 7-4 lead, forcing a Saskatchewan timeout.
The Huskies would crawl back, narrowing the lead to 12-10 after an Emily Koshinsky kill. Koshinsky would commit an attack error on the following serve, allowing Linda Damerau to deliver a clutch ace to take the Spartans one point away from stealing the win. Katelyn Devaney would seal the deal thereafter, her kill giving the Spartans the 15-11 victory in the deciding set.
Hilary Howe lead the offence for the Spartans, recording 15 kills and six digs. Katelyn Devaney also provided 14 kills for Trinity Western.
Trinity Western would go on a 6-1 run halfway through first the set thanks in part to Kristin Anton's powerful serves; forcing a Huskie timeout with the Spartan lead extended to five. Coming out of the timeout, the Huskies couldn't close the gap. Another 6-1 run with Kristin Anton providing the service would be too much for the Huskies to come back from. The Spartans would take the first set, 25-17.
After falling behind 3-0 in the second set, the Huskies stormed back. A kill by Noble would kick-start a 7-1 run for the dogs. The Huskie lead would extend to as much as six before a 7-1 Spartan run would give them a one-point advantage at 18-17. Back to back kills from fifth-year Jenelle Sokoloski got the Huskies back on track down the stretch. Fellow fifth-year Marguerite Ferguson would finish the set with a kill of her own to clinch the set for the Huskies, 25-21.
In the third set, the Huskies carried over their momentum from the second. A quick 4-0 lead would grow to as many as eight thanks to kills from Noble, Sokoloski and Ferguson. After a Spartan misplay, the Huskie lead would reach nine with just three points to take the set. The Spartans wouldn't make it easy on the home-team, as their 7-1 run would close the gap to three, 23-20. After a Huskie timeout, fifth-year Mackenzie Pek came through with timely sets for her teammates. Pek would set up Sokoloski and Ruby Stefan for the final two kills of the set.
The Spartans would need to take the fourth set to force a fifth, and they came through. They wouldn't give up the lead during the set after building an early 9-3 cushion, taking the set 25-12.
These teams are back on the court Saturday night at the PAC. First serve is at 4 p.m.