After dropping the first set, the Trinity Western University women's volleyball team rallied to win the next three to knock off the unranked Brandon Bobcats Saturday afternoon at the Langley Events Centre.
Set scores were 19-25, 26-24, 25-23, and 25-20.
With a variety pack of an attack - one that saw four TWU players earn at least nine kills - the Spartans (12-2) put together a strong performance that saw the home side complete the weekend sweep of Brandon (5-9).
The Spartans were led by Amber Brown who had 13 kills and a match-high 13 digs, while first set substitute Carly Hamilton came off the bench to add 12 kills and eight digs.
Both Brown and Hamilton matched their career highs in kills with Brown having put up 13 during Thursday's win over the Bobcats and Hamilton previously collecting 12 earlier this season against Thompson Rivers on Nov. 9.
Amy Ott added 10 kills and four blocks while Alicia Perrin had nine kills. Setter Kelci French had 43 assists, five kills, eight digs, and two aces.
"There are five of us outside hitters who are all really good," said Brown, commenting on the variety of TWU attackers, notably Hamilton off the bench. "If one person is off, the next one goes in. It's not scary being a starter when they come in because you know they're going to do a great job. And it's nothing on me if I go out because it's all about the team."
For the Bobcats, Victoria Dakin led the way offensively with 13 kills to go with three aces and seven digs. Shanlee McLennan added 11 kills and 10 digs. Setter Kellie Baker had 37 assists and three blocks while Chloe Reimer had a team-high 12 digs.
"This is a game where we have to scramble," said Spartans' coach Ryan Hofer, after the contest. "We had two very offensive teams both banging the ball. Both teams can block well and play good defence and it's a lot of side out volleyball and some serving streaks. We had to do a little bit of everything today to get the win.
"They grabbed [the] first set and then we had a lot of control of that second set before nearly losing it, and that was a reminder for us that no set is ever safe, no matter what kind of lead you have. I think we know that but this is Canada West and it's good ball all the time."
With the score tied 14-14 in the first set, Brandon scored five straight points and, with momentum decidedly on the visitors' side, the Bobcats ran away with the set, winning by six.
Trinity Western roared out to a raucous start in the second set, and after a kill by French, took a 10-1 lead. But Brandon wasn't about to lay down. With the score 17-10 for TWU, the Bobcats started clawing their way back.
With Dakin leading the way with four kills and two aces in the set, Brandon managed to come all the way back and take a 22-21 lead. But after the Bobcats had a chance at set point, at 2423, a kill from TWU's Brown sparked a 3-0 run for the home side that gave the Spartans the set. A kill off the right side from Ott earned TWU the 26-24 win.
During the third stanza, an ace by Perrin gave TWU a 24-21 lead and then, following a Brandon attacking error, the Spartans took the set 25-23.
Brandon led the fourth set 1110 before the Spartans went on a 5-0 run, capped by a Perrin block that gave TWU a lead it wouldn't relinquish.
The Spartans extended their lead to as much as six points, at 20-14 and then rolled to a convincing five-point win.
Fittingly, it was a Brown roll shot off the left side that earned the match-winning point.
The Spartans are back at home next weekend when they host Manitoba Jan. 1819 at the Langley Events Centre.
. . .
The Spartans got off to a strong start to open the second semester as they knocked off Brandon in four sets Thursday at the Langley Events Centre.
Set scores were 3-1 25-17, 2125, 25-15, and 25-18.
After Brandon used a late run to nab the second set and tie the match 1-1, the Spartans turned their game up and the result was dominant third and fourth set wins that improved TWU's home record to 6-0.
The Spartans were led offensively by Brown and Royal Richardson, who each had 13 kills while Brown added 11 digs and Richardson contributed 10.
French had 35 assists to go with four aces, eight blocks, and eight digs.
Ott added nine kills and four blocks while Nicole Bazin and Perrin each had six blocks. Kristen Moncks had a match-high 13 digs.
"Coming off the Christmas break, we've worked hard to prepare for this match and I was very pleased with how my team played," Hofer said. "I was happy with how we came out and competed. I thought we let up a little bit in that second set but overall I was very pleased with our play, especially with how we served."
GAME NOTES: With two aces, French tied the Spartans' single-season record of 36, which is also held by current TWU assistant coach Lies Reimer, who accomplished the feat twice, in 2001/02 and 2002/03.