November 3, 2012, REGINA – The No. 2-ranked Trinity Western men’s volleyball team lost the first two sets to Regina but then battled back to win three consecutive sets to earn a 3-2 (23-25, 23-35, 25-19, 25-22, 15-6) win over the Cougars Saturday at the Centre for Kinesiology, Health & Sport.
Following close losses in the opening two sets, the Spartans changed a few tactics and found a different gear as they squeaked out a win on a night when they lacked top quality.
Nicholas Del Bianco (Surrey, B.C.) led TWU with 25 kills and 14 digs, while Brad Kufske (Abbotsford, B.C.) had 15 kills and 11 digs. Scott Plocktis (Kelowna, B.C.) dished out 47 assists and added 11 digs, while Branden Schmidt (Winton, Alta.) led all players with six blocks.
Caleb Eschbach had 35 assists and 15 digs for the Cougars, while Andre Borgeaud had 13 kills and 10 digs and Nathan Cherwaty and Matthew Lueck both collected 10 kills. Jacques Borgeaud also had 10 digs for Regina.
With the win Trinity Western improved to 3-1 on the season while the loss drops the Cougars to 0-4.
“I thought we made some great strides forward as far as growing up and maturing,” said Spartans coach Ben Josephson. “If you want to be a great team and a playoff team, you have to win the matches when you’re not at your best or when your opponent is extra hot. I think both of those elements were in play tonight.
“After those first two sets, our guys decided to make a change and made some better plays and we found a way to grind out a pretty tough five-set road win. If we want to be a great volleyball team this year, we are going to have to win on our bad days and I was proud of how the guys battled back.”
After the Spartans swept Regina in three sets Friday night, the Cougars came out much stronger on Saturday. The two teams traded leads six times in the first set and were tied 12 times, but Regina scored three straight points to break a 17-17 tie and held on for a 25-23 win.
The Cougars continued their strong play in the second set, scoring six consecutive points to turn a one-point deficit into a five-point lead at the technical timeout. A run by the Spartans brought the visitors to within one point late in the set, but the Cougars clinched their second consecutive 25-23 victory with a TWU service error.
Regina scored the first point of the third, but that would be the final lead the Cougars would have in the match. The Spartans reeled off six consecutive points and held that lead throughout the set, taking a 25-19 win. Trinity Western jumped out to a quick start in the fourth set as well, scoring seven of the first nine points and surviving a late Cougars run to take a 25-22 win.
The fifth and deciding set was the least contested of the match, as TWU jumped out to a quick 5-1 lead and cruised to a 15-6 victory to clinch the win.
The Spartans are back at home next weekend with a pair of matches against Thompson Rivers while the Cougars will hit the road as they will travel to Edmonton for a pair of games against the University of Alberta.
Game Notes: TWU hit .188 compared to Regina’s .126…TWU had a 10-9 blocking advantage and a 7-4 edge in aces.