Spartans Suffer Five-Set Loss to Manitoba

trinity western_spartans1

January 20, 2013, Langley, BC (ISN) – Rallying from a 2-1 set deficit to force a fifth set, in the final set, down 13-12, the Bisons (10-6) scored the last three points of the match to take the set 15-13 and the match.

For the second straight night, the No. 6 Manitoba Bisons came from behind to earn a five-set victory over the No. 3 Trinity Western men’s volleyball team.


Bisons win 3-2 (25-20, 23-25, 14-25, 25-23, 15-13) Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.

After Manitoba earned points on a Spartans (11-5) back row attack error followed by another TWU attack error, the match’s final point came on an overpass by Manitoba’s Luke Herr (Winnipeg) that flummoxed the Spartans and fell untouched just on the TWU side of the net.

The Spartans have now lost three straight five setters and have lost three matches in a row in Canada West league play for the first time since a four-game slide that spanned from Nov. 10, 2007 to Jan. 12, 2008.

Despite out-blocking Manitoba 20.5 to eight, including holding a Bisons team that leads Canada West in blocks to just four through the first four sets, the Spartans found themselves on the losing end. The Spartans also out-hit Manitoba .193 to .112 but it was TWU’s 17 serving errors to just one ace that was largely the home side’s undoing.

For Manitoba, it was Dane Pischke (Winnipeg) leading the way with 14 kills and a match-high 20 digs while Chris Voth (Winnipeg), who got injured midway through the third set, also had 14 kills. Kenny Rooney (Winnipeg) had a team-high four blocks. Setter Chris Komishon (Winnipeg), who only played three sets, had 21 assists, while Herr, who replaced Komishon midway through the match, had 19 assists.

Trinity Western was led by Nick Del Bianco (Surrey, B.C.), who had 22 kills and 13 digs. Steven Marshall (Abbotsford, B.C.) added 18 kills, 12 digs and six blocks. Dan Jansen Van Doorn (Langley) had career-high 14 blocks along with four kills while setter Scott Plocktis (Kelowna, B.C.), who replaced Jarrod Offereins (Calgary) early in the match, had 50 assists. Jansen Van Doorn’s previous career-high was 13, which came against Alberta in the CIS national championship quarter-final Mar. 4, 2011.

“We are having a hard time finding the competitive balance required to win these tough matches against playoff opponents,” said Spartans coach Ben Josephson. “Some athletes are under-activated and some might be over-activated and the pressure is getting to them. Not a lot of these guys have been in these types of matches and had to play as big of a role as they do now.

“We’re still looking for that balance, which allows our guys to play to their abilities and play within the context of the system. Our play and, particularly that serving number is a product of this lack of balance. I feel like our team is prepared but we just make emotional and mental errors and to me that has a lot to do with my ability to prepare the team, to manage expectations and focus on the job at hand. Unfortunately I need to take the brunt of these losses.”

The first set saw Manitoba run out to a 5-1 lead and never trail. With all the set’s momentum, Manitoba controlled the play and built as much as a nine-point lead, at 18-9. Trinity Western made it interesting with a 9-2 run that saw the Spartans get to within two points, at 20-18, but they couldn’t get any closer. A kill by Pischke stemmed the TWU momentum and got Manitoba back on track. The Bisons finished the set with five of the last seven points and a Spartans attack error ended the set.

The second set was all Manitoba early on. The Bisons possessed a lead past the technical timeout and then pushed their advantage to 19-14. However, that’s when TWU turned the set around. After a Spartans timeout, TWU came out of the break fired up. The Spartans launched a 7-1 run, helped by three Jansen Van Doorn-aided blocks, that gave TWU a 21-20 lead. Then, after Manitoba made tied it up 23-23, the Bisons put their subsequent serve out of bounds to set up set point. That’s when a monster kill off the left side by Marshall ended the set and completed the comeback.

After the teams traded points early in the third set, the Spartans started to pull away with the score 10-9 in their favour. A kill by Del Bianco – one of seven he earned in the set – gave TWU an 11-9 lead but it was also after that point that Manitoba’s Voth went down with a leg injury. With Voth out for the rest of the set and the match, the Spartans pushed their lead to 13-9 and, from there, seized momentum. With the score 18-14, TWU finished the set with seven straight points and with a Jansen Van Doorn kill, TWU took the set by 11 points. The Spartans had a 5-0 advantage in blocks in the third set.

In the fourth set, Manitoba took a 9-6 lead and, while TWU kept it close, the Bisons managed to keep an advantage throughout. The Spartans tied it 11-11 and several times got to within one, but each time TWU got close, Manitoba surged ahead. With the score 24-23, Pischke’s eighth kill of the set earned Manitoba the win and forced a fifth set.

With three blocks in a row from Manitoba, nearly equaling the four they had garnered throughout the rest of the match combined, the Bisons scored themselves a 4-1 lead. After TWU tied it 6-6, following a Marshall kill, the Bisons promptly went on a 4-0 run, capped by an ace from Rooney. With the score 11-7, the Spartans put a restart on the game with four straight points that made it 11-11 to force Manitoba into a timeout. Out of the break TWU scored two more points to give the Spartans its first lead of the set since the first point. But shortly thereafter, with the Spartans up 13-12, Manitoba scored the last three points of the night to complete the comeback and the road sweep.

The Spartans will travel to Calgary next weekend to play Mount Royal Jan. 25-26. Manitoba returns home to play Regina Jan. 26-27.

Game Notes: Manitoba had 67 digs to TWU’s 63…Manitoba had 3 aces and 7 serving errors.