No. 5 TWU Spartans Earn Sweep of Dinos

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February 2, 2013, Langley, British Columbia – With a balanced attack that saw five players earn at least five kills, and a dominant serving game. the No. 5 Trinity Western men’s volleyball team knocked off unranked Calgary 3-0 (25-18, 25-19, 25-21) Friday at the Langley Events Centre.

After losing three straight at home, all of which were in five sets, the Spartans broke out of their funk in decisive fashion as they hit .395 for the match and managed 11 aces.

The win improves TWU to 14-5 and keeps the Spartans in sole possession of second place in the Canada West standings. The loss drops Calgary to 6-13 and now the Dinos will need to win each of their last three matches to have a chance at a post-season berth.

The Spartans were led by Steven Marshall (Abbotsford, B.C.), who had 12 kills and just one error for a .579 hitting percentage. Marshall also had five digs and two blocks. Nick Del Bianco (Surrey, B.C.) had eight kills, six digs and tied his career-high in aces with five, while Brad Kufske (Abbotsford) added nine kills and a career-high four aces. Setter Jarrod Offereins (Calgary) had a match-high 32 assists and five digs and libero Tyler Koslowsky (Abbotsford) had a match-high 10 digs.

Del Bianco earned five aces earlier this year against Saskatchewan on Nov. 17 while Kufske’s previous high for aces was three, which he has earned three times.

For Calgary, Greg Mann (Brisbane, Australia) led the offence with 14 kills as well as holding strong defensively as he had a team-high eight digs. Sean Martin (Calgary) added five kills and Trent Monagle (Grande Prairie, Alta.) had a team-high three blocks. Setter Jackson Maris (Edson, Alta.) had 26 assists, five digs and two blocks.

“I was really worried about some of their float servers, but we handled those guys better than I was expecting,” said Spartans coach Ben Josephson. “We have to give credit to our serve receivers for doing a good job. I thought our hitters were efficient and they made good choices on tougher sets. I thought we had our opponents on their heels and got a couple of cheeky kills because of it, which kept our efficiency higher than usual. I thought our hitters took what was there and that’s all you can ask.

“Jarrod keeps getting better and our hitters are getting better and making better decisions. It’s a nice combo and that group is just starting to find a little more rhythm together.”

The Dinos opened an early lead in the first set, staking themselves to a 9-7 advantage after a Mann kill. But the set turned the Spartans way shortly thereafter. With a Kufske kill, the Spartans launched a 7-0 run that gave TWU a 14-9 lead and an edge it wouldn’t relinquish. With TWU committing just three attack errors on 24 attempts, the Spartans cruised to a 25-18 win. Del Bianco finished the set with the winning kill.

It was a similar story in the second set as Calgary opened a 10-8 lead after a Mann kill but, once again, the Spartans responded, this time with a 5-1 run, to take a lead they would hold the rest of the way. Trinity Western’s Kufske and Marshall each had a pair of kills late as the Spartans closed the set with four of the last five points, winning 25-19.

The third set saw TWU build a 10-5 lead and ultimately never trail. After the Spartans went up 17-11, Calgary made it close with a 5-1 run to get the match to 18-16, but the visitors would get no closer. With TWU up 21-19, the Spartans earned a 3-1 run that gave them a chance to serve for set-point at 24-20. A kill by Monagle extended the match briefly but, on the next play, Lucas Van Berkel (Edmonton) earned the win with an emphatic kill over the middle.

“We stayed together and we didn’t get rattled tonight,” Van Berkel said. “We had everybody contributing, which is nice and guys off the bench did their part. It was just an overall team effort.”

The two teams will meet in a rematch Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Langley Events Centre.

Game Notes: Both teams had 4 blocks each…TWU had an 11-2 edge in aces…TWU had 32 digs to Calgary’s 23.