LANGLEY, B.C. – The No. 1-ranked Trinity Western men's volleyball team capped an impressive weekend sweep of Mount Royal with a 3-0 (25-16, 25-23, 25-15) win over the Cougars Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.
TWU (7-1) set the tone for the match in the opening set, hitting .500 as a team, and it was largely the Spartans controlling the match throughout. The Cougars (2-6) showed a more consistent level than in their three-set loss Friday night, but the end result was the same.
Jacob Kern (Edmonton) had an impressive night for the Spatans, collecting 11 kills and 11 digs, while Eric Loeppky (Steinbach, Man.) was in fine form once again, leading TWU with 12 kills to go with two aces. Setter Adam Schriemer (Winnipeg) had 30 assists along with three kills.
The Spartans finished with a 7-1 edge in aces. TWU only had three blocks, while MRU had just 1.5.
The Spartans picked up right where they left off on Friday night, hitting .500 as a team in the opening set en route to a nine-point win. Loeppky had five kills, while Kern had four as TWU collected 15 kills in the set. Lightfoot had four kills to lead MRU in a set in which neither team earned a block.
TWU took a 10-5 lead in the second set, but the Cougars slowly chipped away at the Spartans lead until they tied it up 20-20 after a TWU attacking error. With the game still tied 22-22, TWU tallied two of the final three points, capped by a Loeppky kill, to win the set. MRU had a better attacking efficiency in the set, hitting .400 to TWU's .370. However, the difference was TWU's 3-0 edge in aces and 2-0 advantage in blocks.
The third set was tight from the outset, going back and forth until TWU cracked it open with three straight points that sent the Spartans into the technical timeout with a three-point lead. After that, TWU extended its lead to 23-15 before holding on for a nine-point win. Neither Schmidt nor Lightfoot registered a kill in the fourth set. Instead Matt Saly had four kills and Gieske had three kills to lead MRU.
Head Coach Ben Josephson
"That was a really entertaining game from a volleyball tactic perspective. They played a different group and they played in a way that was trying to shine a light on the stuff we've worked very hard to cover over. They neutralized our block by not challenging it. They recycled or tipped. They served pretty conservatively in the first set and just forced us to transition and earn every point.
"The kids held up well in the first set. In the second set, we started to shake a little bit. The rallies got sloppier and the passes were clunkier. Then they attacked certain zones with different plays and it was a really neat tactical win. For me, it was a great test for us to see if our ball control and our long-rally transition discipline could hold up and it did just enough."
· TWU changed its starting lineup from Friday's night game, with Ben Lieuwen (Abbotsford, B.C.) slotting in for Jesse Elser (Calgary) and Riley Vander Meulen (Edmonton) entering the fray for Pearson Eshenko (Banff, Alta.).
· Including the preseason, TWU is 20-1 on the season. TWU's only loss this season was a five-setter on the road against Brandon.
· The Spartans have played beyond four sets just twice this year. Along with the Spartans loss to Brandon, TWU's only other five-setter was a preseason win over Laval.
Trinity Western is back on home court next weekend, when the Spartans host currently No. 6-ranked Alberta Nov. 24-25 at the LEC. Mount Royal will travel to play the Huskies in Saskatoon.