Spartans Sweep Mount Royal on The Road

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January 26, 2013, Calgary, AB (ISN) – After suffering through a three game losing skid, the Trinity Western men’s volleyball team returned to the win column Friday, dispelling the Mount Royal Cougars in straight sets (25-20, 25-21, 25-21) in Canada West men’s volleyball action in Calgary.

After falling in five sets in their three previous matches and forced to play to five sets in each of their last five matches, the Spartans (12-5) earned their first three-set win since Nov. 10 against Thompson Rivers.

Mount Royal (7-10) sees its three-game winning streak come to a halt.

A strong serving night from the Spartans was largely the difference throughout the contest and TWU finished the match with eight aces, including four from Steven Marshall (Abbotsford, B.C.)

Trinity Western’s Nick Del Bianco (Surrey, B.C.) put away a game-high 16 kills, along with six digs and five blocks to lead the Spartans attack. Brad Kufske (Abbotsford) had 10 kills while Lucas Van Berkel (Edmonton) had a match-high seven blocks. Jarrod Offereins (Calgary) had a match-high 31 assists.

For MRU, Colton deMan once again led the Cougars attack, as the fourth-year outside converted 12 kills and added eight digs on the evening. Marcus Ernewein paced the Cougars offence with 29 assists.

“One of things we talked a lot about was trying to find a way to stay focused,” said Spartans coach Ben Josephson. “We tried to be not too high and not too low. Guys did a better job of that. It was a pretty efficient night from our attackers, but our serving tonight won the day. We served the ball as good as we have all year. Without that serving game, maybe we don’t even win. Our opponents were good and we just won the serving game.”

With the Cougars leading 17-14 in the first, TWU clawed its way back into the set, rattling off a 7-0 run on the Cougars led by two aces from Marshall. Leading 21-17 and momentum in their favour, the Spartans would complete their run as Del Bianco crushed home the winner from the outside, giving the Spartans the first 25-20.

A see-saw second set saw both teams sideout to 14 apiece. Trading barbs to 19-19, the Cougars offence started to miss their mark down the stretch as hitting errors plagued MRU. Del Bianco once again put a cap on the set, putting away a Van Berkel set as the Spartans cruised away with the second 25-21.

The Cougars looked strong in the third, as they built their lead to 14-10, led by early kills from Trevor Langvand. Trinity Western would respond though, launching an 8-2 run that tilted the scales back in the Spartans favour. Leading 18-16, TWU got kills from four different players down the stretch, effectively ending the night for the Cougars as the Spartans swept the evening in straight sets, winning the third 25-21.

The Spartans totaled 11.5 blocks to just four for the Cougars on the night while also out-hitting MRU .344 to .209.

The Spartans and Cougars will meet again on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. (PST).

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Game Notes: TWU had an 8-4 edge in aces…MRU had a 39-28 advantage in digs.