LANGLEY, B.C. (from Trinity Western Spartans) – The Trinity Western Spartans lost a thrilling five-set match to the British Columbia Thunderbirds Friday night at the Langley Events Centre.
But what was perhaps more exciting was Katelyn Devaney (Port Coquitlam, BC) leading the Spartans with nine blocks to became the all-time Canada West leader with 513. In front of more than 1,400 fans at the Langley Events Centre in Langley, BC, the No. 4 ranked Thunderbirds edged the Spartans 25-22, 22-25, 25-22, 17-25, 15-9.
“Katie has worked real hard. She is a fantastic blocker and has put together an exceptional career,” said TWU head coach Ryan Hofer. “And it was nice to see her set the record at home in front of a great crowd.”
Devaney finished the night with nine blocks, giving her a total of 126 in the season. Her career best is 127, which is third best in Canada West history. Devaney currently holds three of the top seven single-season records for blocks in a season.
Hillary Howe with 20 kills and eight digs, Micaylee Pucilowski (Kelowna, BC) with 11 kills and seven digs, Devaney, and Avery Heppell (Langley) with seven kills each led the Spartan attack.
Kiera Van Ryk with 16 kills and five service aces, Gabrielle Attieh with 12 kills, and Olivia Furlam with 11 kills and a game-high 27 digs led the Thunderbirds.
Brie O’Reilly (Langley) finished with 38 set assists for TWU, while Alessandra Gentile finished with 47 assists for UBC.
The evening’s contest was evenly fought as the teams split the first three sets by identical 25-22 scores, with the Thunderbirds having the one-set edge. The Spartans drew even with their strongest set of the night taking the fourth 25-17.
In the fifth set, UBC held a two-point advantage, 8-6, at the change-over. The two teams exchanged points, then with the Thunderbirds up 9-8, they went on a 6-1 run to take the fifth set 15-9 and the match 3-2.
UBC held the edge in serving with 14 aces and seven errors, while TWU had 10 aces with 12 errors. The Spartans were dominant at the net finishing with an impressive 17 blocks to the Thunderbirds nine.
“I was very pleased with our competitiveness that we came out and played with. It was a hard-fought battle,” said Hofer. “We knew that it was going to be great volleyball. It was a really good environment and it was great to come out and play in front of this crowd and our fans.”