LANGLEY, British Columbia (ISN) – The No. 1 Trinity Western men’s volleyball team was once again in fine from as they knocked off No. 6 Calgary 3-0 (25-18, 25-21, 25-15) in the Canada West semifinal Friday at the Langley Events Centre.
With the win the Spartans advance to the conference final where they will play No. 2 Manitoba for the Canada West banner at 7:00 p.m. at the Langley Events Centre. The Dinos will play No. 4 Alberta in the bronze medal game at 5:00 p.m.
Led by 14-kill performances from both Steven Marshall and Rudy Verhoeff, the Spartans were the better squad from start to finish as they out-hit Calgary .357 to .155 and out-blocked the Dinos seven to four.
Along with his 14 kills, Marshall also had 10 digs and three aces, while Verhoeff added six digs to his effort and the recently named Canada West MVP Ben Ball had a match-high 40 assists and was a perfect three for three on kills.
For Calgary, it was Graham Vigrass leading the way with nine kills and three blocks while Allen Meek had seven kills and two blocks and Chris Hoag had a match-high 13 digs to go along with four kills.
“I thought we started off a little tentative in the first set,” said Spartans coach Ben Josephson. “Then in the second set I thought we got a little activated and a little emotional and the third set we settled in nicely about halfway through and played our best set of the night. I’m pretty pleased with it. We served tough and we contained their best players as much as we can and then I thought our passing was good and Ben [Ball] was spectacular.”
In the first set, after a see-saw start, the game turned in the Spartans favour shortly after it was tied 7-7.
Following a Marshall kill – one of his seven in the set – Trinity Western took a one-point lead and never trailed the rest of the way.
The teams traded points until the Spartans took over for good after another Marshall kill gave them a 15-14 advantage. With the score 18-16 for Trinity Western, the Spartans went on a game-clinching 7-2 run that gave the home side a 25-18 win, following a set-capping kill from Marc Howatson.
For the seventh set in a row, dating back to their last two regular season contests against UBC, the Spartans hit better than .400 in a set, this time .429. Calgary, who was led by Meek and his four kills in the set, hit .174.
In the second set it was more of the same early on as the Spartans raced out to a 9-5 lead.
But the Dinos responded with 5-0 run, capped by a Meek kill, that gave Calgary a 10-9 advantage.
From there, however, the Spartans started to take over. With a block followed by a kill from Lucas Van Berkel, the Spartans took a 13-12 lead and were never behind the rest of the set.
While Trinity Western took a 20-16 lead after a block from Marshall and Dan Jansen Van Doorn, the Dinos didn’t roll over easily as they battled back and, after a big kill by Greg Mann, made it a one-point set at 21-20. Another kill from Mann once again made it a one-point game at 22-21 but the Spartans replied with three straight points and, after a Dinos attack error, won 25-21.
In the second set it was the Spartans Verhoeff who led the charge with seven kills while Marshall added five. For Calgary, Vigrass led the Dinos with four kills.
Like the first two sets, the third had a back-and-forth start but, also like the first two sets, the Spartans took over in the middle stages.
With the score 11-11, Trinity Western’s Howatson earned a run-launching kill that sparked seven straight Spartans points.
Marshall had a service ace to make it 13-11 and Trinity Western was off. By the end of the run, one capped by a Jansen Van Doorn kill, the Spartans were up 18-11 and in complete control. Calgary never recovered as Trinity Western rolled to a decisive 10-point win, 25-15. A Van Berkel kill sealed the contest.
Game Notes: TWU had six aces to Calgary’s one…TWU had 11 serving errors to Calgary’s four…TWU had just one reception error to Calgary’s six.