LANGLEY, B.C. – The No. 1 Trinity Western men’s volleyball team put together one of its most complete efforts of the year as they beat UBC Okanagan 3-0 (25-16, 25-11, 25-21) Friday in the Heat’s first visit to Langley since joining the CIS.
The Spartans were relentless in the first two sets, hitting .367 and garnering 28 kills and four service aces, before the bench players closed things out in a much tighter third set.
Trinity Western was led by Jarrod Offereins, who had a game-high 20 digs in just two sets, which broke the Spartans three-set record – previously held by Andrew Hawkes who had 17 digs against Regina Jan. 19, 2007 – tied the four-set match record and is only four shy of the overall record of 24, which Offereins also shares.
“Jarrod had maybe his best match as a Spartan,” said Trinity Western coach Ben Josephson. “Defensively he was unbelievable. We were funneling balls at him and every time they hit at him, he was perfect and that allowed us to transition and also put together big serving runs. We weren’t serving very tough but Jarrod was the difference tonight.”
At the net, it was Steven Marshall with a team-high nine kills and four blocks while Rudy Verhoeff added eight kills and three blocks.
The Heat’s fourth year Nate Speijer (Outside hitter, Penticton, BC) had a game-high 11 kills to lead UBC Okanagan while both middles Brett Uniat (4th year, Cochrane, AB) and Leigh Goossen (1st year, Kelowna, BC) added three kills.
The win improves the top-ranked Spartans to 7-0 while the loss drops the Heat to 3-4.
It took the Spartans five points in the first set before they got going, but when they did, they really got going. The Heat took a 3-2 lead after a Speijer kill but then Trinity Western took over with a 6-0 run that turned the set and the match in the home team’s favour.
With Offereins collecting 13 digs in the first set alone, Trinity Western never let up as they pulled away for a nine-point win, 25-16. A three-man block by Marshall, Verhoeff and Dan Jansen Van Doorn capped the set.
In the second set, Trinity Western continued to roll, scoring the first seven points before opening up a 10-2 lead.
With Verhoeff at the front of the statistical pack with four kills in the set and the Spartans earning four service aces, two from Marc Howatson and one each from Marshall and Ben Ball, the Spartans raced away to a convincing 14-point win.
Speijer had a set-high five kills but the rest of his team could only muster two more in what was a tough set for the visitors.
In the third frame, Trinity Western went to its bench and, after a rocky start in which the youngsters had eight serving errors by the time it was 15-15, the Spartans pulled it together late to complete the three-set sweep.
With the score 15-15, a Nick Del Bianco kill put the Spartans ahead by one point at the technical timeout and they never trailed the rest of the way nor did they make another serving error.
A kill by Derek Thiessen, his third of the set, ended the match, giving the Spartans a 25-21 win.
Trinity Western’s Brad Kufske led the third set with six kills and a .455 attacking percentage.
“Going in we knew we were in it tough against a CIS podium team,” reflected Heat head coach Greg Poitras. “They respected us from the start and they played that way from start to finish. That is what separates the best teams from teams that are in learning mode. As far as first ball contact (serve and receive), this was by far our worst performance. Playing out of system all night against a great team never bodes well. We will have to control the ball better Saturday.”
“I thought our young players competed well.”
The two teams will meet in a rematch Saturday at 7:00 p.m. at the Langley Events Centre, or watch online at www.canadawest.tv
-with notes from Mark Janzen (Assistant Sports Information Director, Trinity Western University)