Spartans Clinch Home Playoff Date With Win

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February 3, 2013, Langley, BC (ISN) –  TWU’s record is now at 15-5 on the season and ensures the Spartans will host a best-of-three opening round series Feb. 14-16 at the LEC. Calgary drops to 6-14 and is officially eliminated from playoff contention.

The No. 5 Trinity Western men’s volleyball team clinched a home playoff date for the Canada West quarter-finals with a 3-0 (25-21, 25-22, 28-26) win over Calgary Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.

In a game that saw both teams hit less than .100 in both the second and third sets, the Spartans managed to pull out the win despite 21 attack errors and 12 serving errors. Calgary countered with 20 attack errors and 11 serving errors.

Defensively, the Spartans were led by John Wiebe (Abbotsford, B.C.) who tied his own Spartans record for digs in a three-set match with 19. Wiebe also had 19 digs in a match against Winnipeg Nov. 27, 2010. Prior to Saturday’s game, no Spartan had earned more than eight digs in a three-set match this season.

On the offence, it was Nick Del Bianco (Surrey, B.C.) leading the Spartans with 15 kills, including eight in the first set alone. Steven Marshall (Abbotsford) added 12 kills while Dan Jansen Van Doorn (Langley) led the team with seven blocks. Lucas Van Berkel (Edmonton) had five blocks

Calgary was led by Greg Mann (Brisbane, Australia), who had a team-high 15 kills to go with seven digs. Sean Tuff (Red Deer, Alta.) added seven kills while setter Jackson Maris (Edson, Alta.) had 23 assists and a team-high 14 digs. Trent Monagle (Grande Prairie, Alta.) had a team-high three blocks.

On a night when the Spartans honoured their four graduating seniors, the group, which included Steven Marshall, Jarrod Offereins, Dan Jansen Van Doorn and John Wiebe, combined for 15 kills, 33 assists, 32 digs and 12 blocks.

“I’m just happy for the seniors that we got a win and secured a home berth in the playoffs,” said Spartans coach Ben Josephson. “All the senior’s friends and families were here and the guys found a way to win the match.

“It was just a weird game. We had some odd bounces. Our opponents were scrappy and never let us build momentum by getting aces or roof blocks early on. It was hard to get some momentum going. It was a bit of dead night so, given the environment, I thought our guys played well.”

Calgary opened the night on a hot streak as it built a quick 6-3 lead. But following that, TWU came alive. The Spartans went on a 9-2 run that gave the home side a 12-8 advantage and a lead it wouldn’t surrender. Led by Del Bianco, who had eight kills in the set, the Spartans pulled away down the stretch. Calgary got to within one point, at 14-13, after a kill from Jeremy Guenther (Sylvan Lake, Alta.), but the Spartans quickly reapplied the pressure and ultimately pulled away for a 25-21 win. A Van Berkel kill finished the set.

In the second set, neither team possessed anything more than a two-point edge until TWU finally broke it open by going up 16-13 at the technical timeout. The Spartans pushed that lead to five with two straight points after the break. But Calgary responded. Down 20-15, Calgary went on a 5-1 run, capped by a Mann kill that made it a one-point game, 21-20. But TWU stopped the Dinos comeback there. The Spartans scored four of the final six points to close out the set ahead 25-22.

The third set saw TWU take a 7-4 lead and, from there, hold an advantage the rest of the way. With TWU up 12-9, the Spartans went on a 4-1 run, capped by a Del Bianco kill, to go into the technical timeout with a six-point lead, 16-10. But Calgary fought back, getting to within one point, at 23-22, after a Connor Frehlich (Calgary) kill. Then, after staving off two match points, Calgary tied the set 24-24. Then, twice more, the Dinos avoided losing match point, at 25-24 and 26-25. But finally, on the Spartans fifth crack at match point, TWU took the set 28-26 after a Dinos attack error.

The Spartans are on the road for the final weekend of the regular season as they travel to play Alberta Feb. 8-9 while Calgary returns home to host Regina.

Game Notes: TWU had a 12-3 advantage in blocks…Calgary didn’t have a block until the third set…TWU had a 4-2 edge in aces.

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