LANGLEY, British Columbia – The result was a 3-0 win for the No. 3Trinity Western Spartans over the No. 1 Manitoba Bisons. However, the battle between the top two men's volleyball teams in Canada West was far from lopsided. In a play-off atmosphere, the 20-3 Spartans beat the 21-2 Bisions 25-23, 25-19, 28-26 Friday night at the Langley Events Centre in Langley, B.C.
"Tonight was a tough feisty match, which we had enough in the tank tonight to win. We did not play perfect but we found ways to adjust throughout the match and were able to beat our opponent," commented TWU head coach Ben Josephson. "It does not matter if you are good or bad anymore. You have to survive against your opponent and advance."
"Tonight Manitoba put us in a lot of trouble. We had lulls in each of the sets that we have to address. But instead of the lulls become runs, it was one lull, they settled and fixed it."
Fifth year outside Ryan Sclater (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) with 13 kills, five digs, and three blocks, rookie outside Eric Loeppky (Steinbach, Man.) with nine kills, three aces, and four digs and fourth year outside Blake Scheerhorn (Belleville, Ont.) with nine kills, four digs and two blocks led the Spartans. While Devren Dear (St. Andrews, Man.) with 12 kills, and five digs and Evan Jackson (Winnipeg) with nine kills, two blocks, and one ace and Adam DeJonckheere (Winnipeg) with nine kills and three digs led the Bisons.
Fourth year setter Adam Schriemer (Winnipeg) finished the night with 36 assists for Trinity Western, while his Manitoba counterpart Luke Herr (Winnipeg) finished with 30 assists.
The Spartans had a strong opening to the match as they jumped out to a quick 9-5 lead, which they carried to the technical time out leading 16-10. Out of the break the Bisons were the better team and after a kill by Devren Dear and an error by the Spartans the first set was tied at 19-19 after a 9-3 Manitoba run. The two teams sided out to 23-23. Tough serving by TWU's Aaron Boettcher (Surrey, B.C.) forced Manitoba into two attack errors as the Spartans took the opening set 25-23. TWU hit at .333 (14-5-27), while Manitoba finished the set at .214 (11-5-28) hitting efficiency.
The second set was tight at the start. Tied at 9-9, TWU was able to get a little bit of space leading 16-14 at the technical timeout. Out of the break Manitoba closed to 17-18, however from that point on TWU controlled the set. A varied Spartan attack and errors by the Bisons allowed TWU to go on a 7-2 run to take the second set 25-19.
The final set saw the two teams exchange points to the break with TWU, after a Ryan Sclater kill, leading 16-15. Out of the break errors by Manitoba and kills from Blake Scheerhoorn and Eric Loeppky, and Aaron Boettcher gave the Spartans a seemingly comfortable 20-16 lead. Another kill by Scheerhoorn put the Spartans within three points of winning the match, leading 22-19. However, the No. 1 Bisons used the serving of Luke Herr to go on a 4-0 run to take a 23-22 lead. The two squads exchanged points to 26-26. TWU's Boettcher put TWU up with a middle attack and then rookie Eric Loeppky finished the match with a service ace, which hit the tape and fell to the centre of the Bisons court.
"Manitoba came in off a bye and some easier matches, so they are not as battle tested as we are. Now that they have seen our play, I am excited to see what tomorrow nights match looks like. Manitoba will now know what a playoff match feels like."
The two teams will match up again tomorrow evening for the final match of Canada West conference play. Match time at the Langley Events Centre is set for 7 p.m. PST. The match can be seen live on Canadawest.TV. Tomorrow night will be senior night for TWU's Ryan Sclater, Scott Plocktis and Leigh Goossen.
Match Notes: The Bisons came into tonight's match on a 20 match and 20 set winning streak…The Spartans need a win tomorrow to move into a first place tie with the Bisons. However, in order to win the tie-breaker TWU needs to win that match by a similar 3-0 score a 3-1 score will push to a total points tiebreaker…Manitoba finished the match hitting at .239 (37-15-92), while TWU finished at .354 (42-14-79)…the Spartans had eight blocks, while the Bisons had five…TWU also had a 6-1 edge in service aces… Manitoba's last loss was 3-0 on October 29 at Mount Royal…