TORONTO — Eli Wendel had 10 kills as the No. 7 Trinity Western Spartans advanced to the semifinals at the U Sports women's volleyball championship Friday with a 25-16, 25-10, 25-17 quarter-final win over the No. 2 McMaster Marauders.
Wendel, from Caronport, Sask., committed just a single error in 19 attacks to go along with three blocks and a pair of digs. Katelyn Devaney of Port Coquitlam, B.C., added seven kills, three 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 championship)," 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)."
The Spartans, who settled for Canada West bronze last week, will take on UBC in the semifinals. The No. 3 Thunderbirds advanced with a 25-20, 23-25, 25-19, 25-20 win over the No. 6 Western Mustangs.
Saturday's other semifinal will have the top-ranked Alberta Pandas against the Montreal Carabins. The No. 4 Carabins knocked off the No. 5 Dalhousie Tigers to earn their place in the final four.
Hamilton's Joanna Jedrzejewska picked up a team-high seven kills for the Marauders, who struggled offensively against the blocking power of Trinity Western.
"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."
The Thunderbirds were led in their quarter-final win by Danielle Brisebois, who racked up a game-high 23.5 points.
Brisebois tallied 22 kills to go along with an ace and eight digs, while Juliana Kaufmanis added 12 kills, three aces, and 13 digs for the Thunderbirds.
"(It was) not our 'A' game but that's not unusual in the first round of nationals," said UBC coach Doug Reimer. "So having said that, I give our team some credit. … I think the response was there. I thought we handled the ball better (in the third set). Given how poorly we served, I thought our side-out offence was pretty good."
The Mustangs were led by Kelsey Veltman, who had 10 kills and 3.5 blocks in a losing cause.
Alberta downed the No. 8 Ryerson Rams 25-23, 27-7, 25-12. Fifth-year veteran Kacey Otto led the way with 17 points and 13 kills.
"I was really happy with our composure," said Pandas coach Laurie Eisler. "I thought Ryerson really brought it in the first set and we were a little bit off. But we settled down when we needed to and just kept our momentum going as the match went."
First-team All-Canadian Marie-Alex Belanger had a game-high 20 kills as Montreal beat Dalhousie in three sets, 25-22, 25-13, 25-15.
"When Belanger is on she is really hard to stop," said Carabins assistant coach Sebastien Hurtubise. "She can hit the ball from anywhere, and she has all the angles so she can put pressure on teams quite easily. She had a really good game.
The Canadian Press