Spartans fall in final, finish with silver

Quest for back-to-back CIS national titles ends in championship final to Toronto Varsity Blues

Trinity Western Spartans Elizabeth Wendel soars for the kill during the CIS women's volleyball national championships at Brandon University. Wendel was named an all-star as the Spartans finished second in the country.

While finishing second in the entire country is an outstanding accomplishment, it still stung for the Trinity Western Spartans.

The women’s volleyball team was the top seed and going for their second consecutive national championship, when they fell short in the gold-medal match against the Toronto Varsity Blues.

The game was played at Brandon University on Sunday.

“It’s tough,” admitted Spartans coach Ryan Hofer.

“We were going for gold, so I can’t deny there is a little bit of heartbreak and it is tough.

“But I have a pretty resilient group, a pretty tough group and they achieved special things this season.”

The Spartans fell 3-0 (25-21, 25-18, 25-12) to the second-ranked Varsity Blues.

Trinity Western was looking to become the 10th straight Canada West team to win the national title. It was Toronto’s first-ever title in the sport and the first time an Ontario school won the trophy in 40 years.

They finished a perfect 25-0 on the season, dropping just four sets the entire season.

The Spartans were coming off a pair of 3-1 victories in the quarter-finals and semifinals against Brandon and UBC, respectively.

The Spartans led the first set 7-4, but after that, Toronto took full control.

“We felt we were prepared, we felt we were ready. I don’t think we were overconfident,” Hofer said.

“We got caught in a couple of rows which were tough for us to get out of and they took advantage.”

“Full props to Toronto, they came out and played very well, they beat two Canada West teams to get to the finals and the championship,” he added.

Elizabeth Wendel led the Spartans with 13 kills in the gold-medal match. Both Wendel and setter Nikki Cornwall were named tournament all-stars.

Wendel and Cornwall were also named first team all-Canadians while Sophie Carpentier and Katelyn Devaney were second team selections. Rowyn Neufeld was named to the CIS all-rookie team.


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