TORONTO (U SPORTS) – Second Team all-Canadian Eli Wendel picked up a game-high 10 kills, and the Trinity Western Spartans earned the first semifinal spot at the U SPORTS Women's Volleyball National Championship, presented by Jason Rinaldi, by defeating the second-seeded McMaster Marauders in straight sets (25-16, 25-10, 25-17) at the Mattamy Athletic Centre on Friday afternoon.
Wendel worked at a .474 offensive efficiency, committing just a single error in 19 attacks to go along with 3.0 blocks and a pair of digs, helping give the seventh-seeded Spartans an opportunity to qualify for a third-straight national title game. Trinity Western's player of the game Katelyn Devaney added seven kills, 3.0 blocks, and three aces in the victory.
"It felt good to come out strong, and we were happy to bounce back after last weekend (at the Canada West championships)," said Devaney. "I thought Mac played really well so it's fun to play in a tournament where every team is ready to take (the championship)."
Joanna Jedrzejewska picked up a team-high seven kills for the Marauders, who were coming off their third-ever OUA championship, and second in the last four seasons. McMaster struggled offensively against the blocking power of Trinity Western, working at just a -.012 efficiency, compared to a .301 percentage from the Spartans.
"I was really pleased with the way (the women) came out," said Spartans head coach Ryan Hofer. "They came out with high-energy, and came out together really hard each and every point. They (McMaster) have some great servers and can go on some great streaks, and so we had to make sure that we got the ball up to our setter and put it away (from there). When we're together and doing what we do, we can work pretty smoothly."
Brie O'Reilly (Langley, B.C.) started the first quarter-final of the day with an ace for the Spartans, who jumped out to an early 7-2 lead in the opening set. Ashtyn McKenzie followed up a kill with another ace, and after the Vernon, B.C. native stymied the OUA champions with another serve, McMaster coach Tim Louks called timeout to steady his squad.
The Marauders answered with three-straight points to cut the deficit down to a pair, but a big kill from first-team all-Canadian Sophie Carpentier (Ottawa, Ont.) sparked the Canada West bronze medalists on a mini-streak that helped them extend the lead back up to five.
Coming out of the technical timeout, Trinity Western spread the lead to eight after a big denial from Nikki Cornwall (Coquitlam, B.C.). Wendel (Caronport, Sask.) also had a big first set for her team, picking up six kills to help the Spartans draw first blood in the match.
After surrendering the first three points of the second set, the Marauders stormed back to even the match, topped off with a cross-court strike from OUA all-star Jedrzejewska (Hamilton, Ont.). However, Trinity Western continued to dominate from the service line and at the net, picking up nine of the next 10 points to take a commanding 15-5 lead. An ace from Katie Zutautas (Etobicoke, Ont.) cut the lead down to nine going into the technical, but the Spartans offense remained hot throughout the set, using a .733 hitting efficiency to take a 2-0 match lead.
A big block from Devaney (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) capped off a 5-2 run to open the third set, which prompted another timeout from the Marauders. After going down 10-4, the Marauders showed some strong resiliency, winning six of the next eight points to pull within two points of the lead. Back-to-back kills from Jedrzejewska were followed by another from Aleks Arsovic (Burlington, Ont.), and McMaster fought back to go into the technical down by just three points.
A rejection by Maicee Sorenson (Hamilton, Ont.) was followed by a Trinity Western attack that went long, leaving McMaster down only two at 19-17. That was as close as the Marauders would get, however, as Trinity Western found its stride in the latter half of the set, using six-straight points to take the third and move on to the national semifinals on Saturday.
Kills: Elly Wendel (10), Sophie Carpentier (9)
Points: Wendel (13), Devaney (13), McKenzie (11)
Blocks: Katelyn Devaney (0,6), Elly Wendel (0,6)
Digs: Nikki Cornwall (10)
Service aces: Ashton McKenzie (5), Katelyn Devaney (3)
Player of the match: Katelyn Devaney
Kills: Joanna Jedrzejewska (7)
Points: Joanna Jedrzejewska (7), Maicee Sorenson (5.5)
Blocks: Alicia Jack (0,2), Caitlin Genovy (o,2)
Digs: Carly Heath (11)
Service aces: Alicia Jack (1), Katherine Zutautas (1)
Player of the match: Aleks Arsovic
SCHEDULE & RESULTS (All times ET)
Friday, March 17
12:00 p.m. Quarter-final #1: No.2 McMaster vs. No.7 Trinity Western 0-3 (16-25, 10-25, 17-25)
2:00 p.m. Quarter-final #2: No.3 UBC vs No.6 Western (USPORTS.LIVE)
6:00 p.m. Quarter-final #3: No.1 Alberta vs. No.8 Ryerson (USPORTS.LIVE)
8:00 p.m. Quarter-final #4: No.4 Montreal vs. No.5 Dalhousie (USPORTS.LIVE)
Saturday, March 18
12:00 p.m. Consolation #1: No. 2 McMaster vs. Loser QF #2 (USPORTS.LIVE)
2:00 p.m. Consolation #2: Loser QF #3 vs. Loser QF #4 (USPORTS.LIVE)
6:00 p.m. Semifinal #1: No. 7 Trinity Western vs. Winner QF #2 (USPORTS.LIVE)
8:00 p.m. Semifinal #2: Winner QF #3 vs. Winner QF #4 (USPORTS.LIVE)
Sunday, March 19
10:00 a.m. 5th place(USPORTS.LIVE)
1:00 p.m. Bronze medal (USPORTS.LIVE)
4:00 p.m. Championship final (USPORTS.LIVE)