November 12, 2012,LANGLEY, BC (ISN) – With Brad Kufske (Abbotsford, B.C.) leading the way with 17 kills, the No. 2 Trinity Western men’s volleyball team was the better side from start to finish as it knocked off No. 9 Thompson Rivers 3-0 (25-18, 25-20, 25-18) Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.
The Spartans got the ball rolling right from the opening serve as they raced out to a 7-1 lead and set the tone for the rest of the match. Trinity Western won that set in short order and from there, the Spartans seized momentum and never let go. Trinity Western went on to hit .277 as a team compared to TRU’s .182. TWU also earned five aces with just nine serving errors while TRU had one ace and 10 serving errors.
The win improves TWU to 5-1 on the season while the loss drops TRU to 3-3.
After Kufske’s 17 kills along with six digs and three blocks, the Spartans had big contributions from Branden Schmidt (Winton, Alta.), who had 10 kills, five digs and three blocks, and Lucas Van Berkel (Edmonton), who had seven kills, five blocks and an ace. Nick Del Bianco (Surrey, B.C.) had a team-high eight digs while setter Scott Plocktis (Kelowna, B.C.) had 36 assists.
For TRU, it was Hardy Wooldridge leading with 10 kills, five digs and two blocks, while Jesse Bazergui had six kills, two blocks and an ace and Nic Balasz had five blocks and three kills. Setter Graham Stoliker had a team-high 17 assists while starter Colin Carson had eight.
“I thought we played really well,” said Spartans coach Ben Josephson. “We knew they would be better so the challenge for us was to see how much better we could be. We have some guys who are pretty banged up right now but we had some gutsy performances from them, especially Dan (Jansen Van Doorn, Langley), who gave us what we needed for two sets.
“Our serving was really good tonight. We kept our high-end serving but we didn’t miss as many, so we kept them under a lot of pressure. Credit to them though because they hung around by making some good scramble plays. In the end though, I thought we were a lot better than last night and our guys made the technical adjustments we needed.”
With Van Berkel putting together a strong serving run, the Spartans nabbed a 7-1 lead in the first set and never looked back. Thompson Rivers climbed to within four points in the mid-section after a Woolridge kill made it 21-17, but the Spartans responded with four of the next five points to take the set. A Van Berkel block clinched the win.
Trinity Western started the second set nearly exactly how it had done in the first as the Spartans quickly opened a 6-1 lead. But unlike the first set, the WolfPack stormed back and got to within one point at 12-11. However, despite TRU’s consistent pressure, it was unable to overtake the Spartans. A kill by Kufske gave TWU a five-point win. After four kills in the first set, Kufske earned six in the second to lead TWU to the win.
In the third set, the Spartans again opened an early lead but, like the second set, TRU hung around. With a block by Balasz and Wooldridge, the WolfPack got to within one point at 11-10. But after that, Kufske earned three kills in a row to put TWU up 14-10. The WolfPack never got any closer than three points the rest of the way and a kill by Steven Marshall (Abbotsford), who was making his first regular season appearance at the Langley Events Centre this year following an ankle injury, sealed the seven-point win.
Both teams will be back in action next weekend, Nov. 16-17, with the Spartans hosting Saskatchewan and TRU hosting Alberta.
Game Notes: TWU out-blocked TRU 8-6…TWU had a 5-1 advantage in aces…TWU had a 32-30 edge in digs.