Spartans Knock off Queen’s in Four

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Mark Janzen

LANGLEY, British Columbia – The No. 1 Trinity Western men’s volleyball team completed a two-match sweep of the visiting Queen’s Gaels with a 3-1 (25-22, 34-36, 25-19, 25-20) win Tuesday at the Langley Events Centre.

The win, coupled with Monday’s 3-0 victory, improves the Spartans record to 20-1 this year against CIS competition while the loss drops Queen’s to 7-20 overall.

“That was exactly what we needed this time of year,” said Spartans coach Ben Josephson. “They played us tough and our guys rose to the occasion and found a way to win. They were really prepared. We’ve been working on a couple of specific patterns and they had them down and they knew how to play them and they put us in a lot of trouble.

“I thought our passing was pretty good for this time of year. I thought our serve reception tightened up a little bit. Our offensive tempo wasn’t very crisp or clean but I thought we were giving Ben [Ball] and our offence an opportunity to keep working on it, which was good.”

After a tight start to the opening set, the Spartans started to take control midway through the frame as they opened up a 16-12 lead at the technical timeout.

But just when it looked like the home side was pulling away, Queen’s responded with a 4-1 run to get within one point at 17-16. From there the Gaels kept buzzing at the net as they took their first lead since the very early stages, 20-19.

However, Trinity Western bounced back with three straight points as they took a 22-20 lead and then, with the score 24-22, a Rudy Verhoeff block ended the set in the Spartans favour.

The second set was an epic one as the teams combined for 70 points with Queen’s taking the set 36-34 after fending off nine set points for the Spartans.

Queen’s took a 20-14 lead midway through the elongated set before the Spartans rallied with a 7-1 run to tie the set 21-21. From there it was back and forth, with neither team taking more than a one-point lead until the Gaels finally finished the set with three straight points.

The Spartans had five straight set point opportunities, from 28-27 to 34-33, but couldn’t convert.

In the third set, Trinity Western took the early lead at 9-5 and never trailed the rest of the way.

Queen’s tied it 16-16 immediately after the technical timeout but Trinity Western earned the next three points to take a 19-16 lead. Then, with the score 21-19 in favour of the Spartans, Trinity Western ended the set with four straight points.

In the fourth and what would be final set, the Spartans looked a determined bunch as they raced out to a 7-2 lead, forcing Queen’s to take an early timeout.

Trinity Western continued to push its own agenda, taking as much as a six-point lead on three different occasions, but with the Spartans up 20-14, Queen’s pushed back and got as close as 22-20. But that was as near as the Gaels would get as Trinity Western got the final three points to take the set and the match.

The Spartans are back in action Jan. 13-14 when they host Alberta at Trinity Western’ University’s David E. Enarson Gymnasium. The first serves are Friday at 8:00 p.m. and Saturday at 7:00 p.m.

Queen’s will return to home for games this weekend against Guelph Saturday and Waterloo Sunday. Both games are at 2:00 p.m.

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