SASKATOON – The No. 2-ranked Trinity Western men's volleyball team completed a weekend sweep of Saskatchewan, beating the Huskies 3-0 (25-10, 26-24, 25-19) Saturday on Ron and Jane Graham Centre Court at the PAC.
Trinity Western's Jacob Kern (Edmonton) had a game-high 15 kills on a .542 hitting percentage. He also added on three service aces for the Spartans. Setter Derek Epp, who was playing in his hometown for the first time this weekend since transferring from the Huskies, had 40 assists for the victors.
Dylan Mortenson led the Huskies with 10 kills on the night. CJ Gavlas recorded a team-high 23 assists while also adding in five digs.
Saskatchewan fell to 3-5 with the loss, while Trinity Western picked up their fourth straight victory and moved to 7-1 on the season.
After a victory the night before, the Spartans jumped out to an immediate 10-4 in the opening set of Saturday's matchup, as Jackson Howe (Calgary) and Kern each recorded two kills each during that stretch. The Huskies were unable to dig out of the early hole, as they dropped the set 25-10.
Trinity Western dominated in the first set from start to finish, as they finished with a hitting percentage of .667 while only committing one hitting error. Kern recorded five kills and three aces in the opening set.
Saskatchewan was quick to make amends for their slow start as they went on a 9-3 run to open the second set. However, the visitors were able to claw their way back into it, as they gradually trimmed the Huskies lead as the set went on.
With the home side in front 22-17, the Spartans went on a 7-0 run to give them a 24-22 lead. Saskatchewan managed to tie the set at 24-24, but Trinity Western was able to tack on two consecutive points with Aaron Boettcher's (Surrey, B.C.) service ace to seal the win in the second set 26-24.
The Spartans opened up the third set with a 7-3 run to get in front of the home side early, with Kern recording three kills during the stretch. The Huskies made their way back into the frame as they looked to push the visitors to a fourth set and, after a run of their own, they trailed narrowly by a score of 19-17. However, at 22-19, Trinity Western recorded three straight points as Pearson Eshenko (Banff, Alta.) and Eric Loeppky (Steinbach, Man.) each smashed kills to pick up the 24th and 25th points for their team. The Spartans left Saskatoon with a three-set victory, as they closed off the final set with a 25-19 win.
Ben Josephson – TWU Coach
"In the first set, we were really good and we served really tough. I thought we missed too many, but when you're serving that tough, you're going to miss some. I was pleased with the focus on that one. In the second set, they had had a great serving run to open it up, but our kids had a great mentality and they stayed positive and kept encouraging each other and saying they were going to steal the set and sure enough, they did. Then, the third set settled into a great sideout game. They forced us to earn all our points and our guys were up for the challenge and finished it out.
"The goal today was to have a good performance on Saturday. For the first time this year, I thought our Saturday performance was better than Friday. That was the objective of the day and the kids accomplished that. Getting a win in Derek's hometown is always fun. We're happy for him and for us and we're excited for the bye week coming up."
• Epp finished the weekend averaging 10.2 assists per set over the Spartans back-to-back wins.
• Kern, who had 22 kills Friday, led TWU offensively in both games this weekend.
• Last year, TWU opened the season in Saskatoon, beating the Huskies 3-0 on both nights.
The Spartans have a bye next weekend before returning home to face Calgary Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 at the Langley Events Centre.
About Spartan Athletics
As official members of U SPORTS, the Spartans currently compete in 10 sports in the Canada West conference, including women's and men's soccer, volleyball, basketball, cross country and track & field. TWU also competes in the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) in men's hockey. Since TWU entered U SPORTS in 1999, the Spartans haAve won 11 U SPORTS team championships and 25 Canada West team championships.