Spartans Remain Unbeaten, Finish Cougars in Four

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Mark Janzen

LANGLEY, British Columbia – The Trinity Western men’s volleyball team stayed unbeaten in Canada West play as they completed a weekend sweep of Regina with a 3-0 (25-10, 19-25, 25-16, 25-15) win Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.

After a dominating 15-point win by the Spartans in the first set, the Cougars responded by taking the second frame by a tidy six points, before Trinity Western went back to work in the final two sets winning by nine points and 10 points in the third and fourth sets respectively.

The Spartans, who had 11 players with at least one kill, were led by Brad Kufske, who had career-high 17 kills, including 10 in the fourth set alone, Nick Del Bianco, who had 10 kills, and Lucas Van Berkel, who had eight kills and seven blocks.

Regina was led by Andrew Nelson, who had six kills, and Jamie Wilkins, who had five kills and one block.

With the win, the Spartans improved to 6-0 on the season while the loss drops Regina to 3-5.

“The first set was awesome as our block defence slowed a bunch of balls down and I thought our transition and tempo was really good,” said Spartans coach Ben Josephson. “Lucas [Van Berkel] and Steven [Marshall] did a great job of stabilizing.

“In the second set, they got a really good serving run from [Andre Borgeaud]. He was just chewing on the ball and making some tough serves. We made a few more errors and we were a little bit sloppy on some of our high ball execution, which didn’t allow us to get on our runs. The third set and fourth were similar. We got some big runs from a couple of great servers and looked pretty sharp. Overall I’m pleased with the weekend.”

The first set of the night was all Spartans.

After Regina took a 3-2 lead following a Spartans serving error, Trinity Western completely took over the set. The Spartans went on a 12-2 run and in doing so nullified the Cougars attack.

From there Trinity Western continued to roll as they cruised to a dominating 25-10 win.

The Spartans, with Marc Howatson, Steven Marshall and Rudy Verhoeff contributing three kills each, had a .526 hitting percentage and made just one hitting error. On the other side of the net, Regina was -.207 and had 11 attack errors on 29 attempts.

Trinity Western finished with six blocks while Regina had none.

In the second set, Regina responded in a big way.

After falling behind 2-0, the Cougars went on a 7-1 run that was capped by a tandem block from Joel Colter and Jacques Borgeaud that gave Regina a 7-3 lead.

With a new Spartans lineup on the floor featuring four players from their bench, Trinity Western quickly battled its way back into the set, evening the game 10-10.

But Regina never let Trinity Western take a lead and with the Cougars leading 16-15, the visitors went on a 4-0 run to take a five-point lead they wouldn’t surrender.

Led by Nelson, who had four kills in the set, the Cougars were a vastly improved team and after a Spartans service error, took the set by six points.

Regina had a .412 attack percentage in the second set compared to Trinity Western’s .121 percentage.

The third set saw the Spartans revert back to their first set dominance while keeping the same players on the court as the second set.

With two kills each from Del Bianco and Kufske, Trinity Western took 7-1 lead and had control of the set from the outset.

The Spartans extended their lead to 19-9 after a Kufske ace. Regina responded with a 6-2 run to close the gap to six points, at 21-15, but Trinity Western snuffed that rally by getting four of the game’s next five points to earn a nine-point win.

The fourth and what would be final set was more of the same from the Spartans as they staked themselves to a 6-1.

Not going away easily, Regina replied with a 6-3 run, thanks in large part to a pair of kills from Wilkins, to get within two points at 9-7.

The Cougars kept coming as they managed to tie the game 12-12 after an ace from Nelson.

But then, with the score 13-13, Trinity Western finally started to roll.

After a Regina service error, the Spartans got back-to-back kills from Kufske followed by a Derek Thiessen kill and another by Kufske to give Trinity Western an 18-13 lead. From there Trinity Western rolled to a comfortable game and match victory.

Both teams are back in action next weekend as the Spartans will host UBC Okanagan at the Langley Events Centre while the Cougars will host Brandon.

Games Notes – The Spartans finished with a .380 hitting percentage while Regina had a .074 percentage…TWU had eight blocks to Regina’s three…TWU had eight service aces while Regina had three.

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