SPARTANS RALLY TO BEAT WESMEN IN FIVE, EARN WEEKEND SPLIT

SPARTANS RALLY TO BEAT WESMEN IN FIVE, EARN WEEKEND SPLIT

WINNIPEG – The No. 2 ranked Trinity Western University Spartans gained a weekend split against the University of Winnipeg Wesmen after posting a hard-fought 3-2 victory (15-25, 25-17, 18-25, 25-22,15-11) Saturday in Winnipeg.

Blake Scheerhoorn (Belleville, Ont.) led the Spartans (19-3) with 16 kills and seven digs and a hitting percentage of .350. Ryan Sclater (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) finished with 14 kills and six digs. Aaron Boettcher (Surrey, B.C.) compiled eight kills and three blocks.

Casey Schouten led the Wesmen (12-10) with 14 kills. David Bommersbach had 13 kills and nine digs. Brendan Thielmann added 11 kills and a pair of blocks. Logan Brennan led the Wesmen with a match-high 14 digs.

"It was a good win for us tonight," said Spartans coach Ben Josephson. "We got off to a slow start and got thundered in the first set, but then we really laid it on them in second but then got smoked in the third. It was a weird game, going back and forth there. In the fourth, the game settled into a bit of groove and both teams were playing pretty well, but man it was hard to score. I don't think I've seen a team defend the way they did. We got a great spark off the bench from Jacob Kern (Edmonton), who played the fourth and fifth sets and he gave us a great emotional lift and made some really great plays. This was also one of Blake's best weekends on the whole. He played really well both nights."

In the opening set, Winnipeg reeled off nine unanswered points to take a 23-12 lead late in the set, before eventually closing out the set by a 25-15 margin. Winnipeg took advantage of eight Spartan attacking errors while only making two of its own. Thielmann had a strong opening set finishing with four kills.

The Spartans evened the match after winning the second set 25-17. The Spartans were perfect on their attacks finishing the set without a single attacking error and a hitting percentage of .400. Winnipeg struggled, committing 11 errors.

Winnipeg found its mark in the third set. Thielmann pounded home three kills in the opening half to put the Wesmen up 16-9 at the technical timeout. Winnipeg was guilty of committing just one error on the attacking end as they went on to win the set 25-18 to grab a 2-1 lead in the match.

In the fourth set, the Spartans held a 16-15 lead at the technical break. After the Spartans extended their lead to 19-16, forcing Wesmen head coach Larry McKay to take a timeout, Winnipeg scored four of the next five points to tie the score 20-20. The teams exchanged points to 22-22 before the Spartans scored the final three points, the last coming on a kill by Jacob Kern (Edmonton) to close out the set 25-22 to square the match at 2-2.

The teams battled to 11-11 in the fifth set before the Spartans took over. Two kills each from Sclater and Scheerhoorn saw the Spartans close out the match with four straight points.

"It was great for us to be pushed this hard at this stage in the year," Josephson said. "We're going to have some really tough matches coming up and this had a playoff feel. Our guys responded to the moment tonight and I'm proud of them for that. There are a lot of volleyball things that weren't good enough moving forward, but the effort and toughness that we showed is exactly what we need if we want to take a run in the playoffs."

The Spartans are back in Langley, B.C. for their final weekend of regular season action next Feb. 24-25 when they host the No. 1-ranked Manitoba Bisons.

Winnipeg won the opening match of the weekend series in four sets Friday night.

Game Notes: Sclater's 15 points passed Toon van Lankvelt and Dane Pischke in Canada West career points as he moved into seventh in conference history with 1,333 points…Schriemer's 42 assists moved him into 14th all-time in Canada West career assists, with 2,462…he passed former Regina setter Caleb Eschbach.

-TW-

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