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December 2, 2012, Kelowna, BC, (ISN) – The No. 3 Trinity Western men’s volleyball team earned its ninth win of the season as it knocked off the UBC Okanagan Heat 3-1 (25-22, 25-14, 21-25, 25-21) Saturday at the UBC-O gymnasium.

The win improves the Spartans to 9-2 on the season while the loss drops UBC-O to 0-11.

After the Spartans took a 2-0 set lead with a dominant second set win, it looked like it would be a short night for the Heat. But UBC-O responded well in the third set to force a fourth. But, despite a strong effort from the Heat in what would be the final set, an upset was not to be on this night, as TWU closed the match out in the fourth.

Although the Spartans indeed earned the win, the difference between getting it done in three sets or four sets was serving as TWU had 23 missed serves over the four sets – of which 20 came before the technical timeout. UBC-O had 14 serving errors.

The Spartans were led by Nick Del Bianco (Surrey, B.C.), who had 12 kills while Brad Kufske (Abbotsford, B.C.) added 11 kills to go along with 12 digs. Branden Schmidt had a career-high eight blocks while both Steven Marshall (Abbotsford) and Lucas Van Berkel (Edmonton) each had five blocks. Schmidt’s previous career-high was five, which he earned Jan. 21, 2012 against Winnipeg. Setter Scott Plocktis (Kelowna) had a match-high 34 assists and libero Tyler Koslowsky (Abbotsford) had 13 digs.

For UBC-O, it was Riley McFarland with a team-high 16 kills to go with 12 digs and three blocks while Greg Niemantsverdriet had eight kills, two aces and four digs. Jeremy Fostvelt added a match-high 15 digs while Davis Proch had a team-high 16 assists.

“Our missed serves really didn’t allow us to generate any sideout rhythm as we started,” said Spartans coach Ben Josephson. “I actually thought we played pretty well but our lack of service pressure created a weird feel to the match. I thought our guys managed the stress of the match pretty well considering how many serves we missed. We stayed positive through the tough times. The guys showed tons of heart and earned a win on the road.”

In the first set, the Heat came out a team on a mission, nabbing a quick 5-1 advantage and then extending it to 12-7 after an ace by Niemantsverdriet. However, TWU responded with four straight points to get back into the set. Then with the score tied 16-16, the Spartans took advantage of a UBC-O attack error to grab their first lead of the night. Then with the game again tied up, this time 19-19, TWU scored five points in a row, capped by a Kufske kill, to give the visitors a 24-19 lead. The Heat earned three straight points to briefly hold off the inevitable, but another kill by Kufske ended the set with TWU up 25-22.

With momentum on its side, the second set was all TWU from start to finish. The Spartans took a 5-1 lead and never trailed after that. Trinity Western opened as much as a 12-point advantage en route to a 25-14 win. A kill by Del Bianco put the finishing touches on the set.

The third set saw the Heat crank out seven straight points to start the set and the home side rolled from there. The Heat pushed its lead to 10-2 and was never behind the rest of the way as it held on for the 25-21 win. The Spartans clawed their way back into set the, getting as close as two points after a Schmidt block made it 22-20, but they wouldn’t get any closer. A block from Joshua Harvey gave UBC-O the set at 25-21.

In the fourth set, the Heat opened a 9-7 lead as it took advantage of four Spartans serving errors. But the Spartans responded with a 5-0 run to give TWU a 12-9 lead. From there, the Heat was able to tie the set twice, at 13-13 and 16-16, but was never able to regain its lead. After UBC-O got to within one point at 22-21, the Spartans finished the match with three straight points, capped by a block from Del Bianco and Schmidt, to give TWU a 25-21 win.

The teams will meet in a rematch Sunday at 4 p.m. at UBC-O in what will be both team’s final match of the fall semester.

Game Notes: Jarrod Offereins (Calgary) returned from injury to play in his first Canada West match of the year and had four assists and two digs…TWU had 13 blocks to UBC-O’s 7.5…TWU hit .267 as a team compared to UBC-O’s .057…UBC-O had a 6-4 edge in aces.