EDMONTON – As clinical as it was thorough, the Trinity Western Spartans delivered a straight-sets win over the MacEwan Griffins on Friday night that may have been the fastest men's volleyball match ever played in the David Atkinson Gym.
Blink and it was over as the Spartans sprinted unscathed to the final whistle 25-15, 25-13, 25-14.
With the result, the No. 2 ranked Spartans move to 15-4, second-best in Canada West, while the Griffins fall to 3-16, second-last in the conference.
Because the match was over so quickly, nobody hit double digits in kills, but Trinity Western had three players hit nine: outside hitters third year Eric Loeppky (Steinbach, Man.) and fourth year Jacob Kern (Edmonton), and fourth year middle Aaron Boettcher (Surrey, B.C.), who added a match-high five blocks. Second year setter Derek Epp (Saskatoon) set a great game with 30 assists.
MacEwan was led by Jordan Peters, who had seven kills, while Max Vriend added six.
The Griffins had trouble with TWU's heavy spin serving attack. They were generally out of system for most of the match. MacEwan finished the night hitting just .014 efficiency.
The Spartans were strong from all over the court. TWU finished with six service aces versus 10 service errors. That all led to TWU posting a .508 hitting efficiency in the match. The Spartans also won the battle at the net finishing with 10.5 blocks to the Griffins two blocks.
TWU Head Coach Ben Josephson
On the game
"It was a really efficient offence because we passed so well, and I was really pleased with our serving numbers. We take a lot risk with our serve and usually we miss a lot more than that. We want to apply a lot of pressure because we're a big blocking team and we get the ball back, we can run our offence."
On challenging his team to play more consistently
"We've been talking lots about having a consistent mindset, regardless of up or down score, regardless of whether it's the national final or an exhibition game in September. It's something we've struggled with a lot this semester."
"We did good job of it last weekend and I thought it was a point of emphasis. The guys, top to bottom, didn't waver. They stayed focused on winning each point and they didn't get too up or down no matter what was happening. I was really pleased with that.
"We've been working hard on that and tonight was one of the better displays they've had of that consistency."
On the play of his top players
"Those two veterans and then we have fourth year middle (Pearson) Eshenko (Banff, Alta.) at home, who got hurt, those three are all national team type players. They're just incredible. They're so gifted and when they put so much pressure on their blocking, it just opens up other things."
"You've got to pass well to run the middle and tonight we passed the ball really well. Lots of nights you don't pass that well, but when you do, it's nice to get the big boys some opportunities."
On tomorrow night's rematch
"I'm excited to see what Brad and his staff cook up for tomorrow. Now that they've seen us live, we're always less scary on the second night because the boogeyman isn't the boogeyman once you've seen what he looks like."
MacEwan Head Coach Brad Poplawski
"That's a national championship-calibre team and we're not good enough. They're just better than us."
"There was not one facet of the game where we were close to them at all. It was their block, their defence, their attention to detail – they out-everything'd us tonight. That's a team that has national championship aspirations and that's how far we are away from that level."
On the Spartans serving
"They have serves that you cannot prepare for without a serving machine and we don't have a serving machine. We don't see serves at 100 kilometres an hour in our gym."
"I feel bad for our passers because they're trying to pass something that they've never seen. We cannot prepare for that type of serve because we don't have anyone in our gym that can serve like that."
- The Spartans finished the win over the Griffins in one hour and 15 minutes.
- TWU hit .348 (12-4-23) in the first set, .625 (11-1-16) in the second set and .591 (15-2-22) in the third set. MacEwan hit .000 (7-7-24), .040 (8-7-25), and .000 (7-7-24) in each set.
Trinity Western and MacEwan will match up again tomorrow night in Edmonton at 6:30 p.m. MT. You can catch all these match-ups live online at CanadaWest.TV.