Spartans edge UNB in five sets, will play for fifth


March 2, 2013, Quebec City (CIS) – For the second game in a row, the second-seeded Trinity Western Spartans played five sets, but this time it turned to their favour as the Canada West finalists beat the UNB Varsity Reds in the first consolation match of the CIS men’s volleyball championship Saturday afternoon at PEPS Stadium in Quebec City.

The 2011 and 2012 national champions, who were upset by No. 7 Western in Friday’s quarter-finals, will get a chance to fight for fifth place on Sunday.

“We are glad to get one more day. The guys had a lot of fun out there. It’s hard to play after a tough loss like yesterday, as it was the case for both teams,” said Spartans’ head coach Ben Josephson.

“It was still pretty good level of volleyball. I was pleased with the effort and with the kind of focus the guys showed after last night’s heartbreaker,” added Josephson.

“We are still happy with how things went, because we knew Trinity Western would be a tough challenge. You can play your best volleyball against them and still lose. They certainly didn’t want to lose today, but it was still a good game for the fans,” said UNB head coach Dan McMorran.

“I’m happy with the way we bounced back from our first match. We had a couple of young guys who did really well today,” continued McMorran

The AUS champions started off well, taking the lead at 10-6 early in the match. They kept the momentum going and were still ahead 16-11 at the technical pause. TWU came back up to only two points of the V-Reds, but UNB was more efficient offensively and managed to close the set at 25-19 on a powerful kill by first team All-Canadian Julio Fernandez (Los Teques, Venezuela).

The second set saw both teams battling hard for every point. After UNB took the lead at 6-4, no contestant could take an advantage of more than a single point. At the mandatory break, the Reds were up 16-15. The cat and mouse game continued until the end of the set, when the Spartans were able to create a short gap, run with the frame by a score of 25-23 and tie up the match at 1-1.

In the third, the play was just as tight. Once again, no team could take a lead of more than one point all the way to the technical break, which happened with the Canada West finalists up front at 16-15. But many attacking errors on the UNB side allowed the Spartans to breathe a little easier with a three-point lead. Ultimately, the gap was wide enough for TWU to take the lead 2-1 in the match by a score of 25-20.

UNB could have been discouraged by these last two sets, but the V-Reds stayed right into the match by scoring five straight points early in the fourth to take the lead 11-5. TWU kept fighting to close the gap, but was still trailing by three at the technical timeout. The Reds managed to keep this advantage until the end, forcing a fifth set with a 25-20 win.

The final set looked like a one-on-one battle between UNB’s Julio Fernandez and TWU’s Lucas Van Berkel (Edmonton, AB). Both athletes exchanged devastating kills, and even though Fernandez seemed to be the most efficient, Van Berkel was better supported by his teammates, resulting in a Spartans lead of 11-8 near the end. It was enough for the Canada West representatives to take the set 15-12 and live one more day.

Outside hitter Nick Del Bianco was voted player of the match on the winner’s side, while Fernandez was granted the same honour for UNB.

The Spartans will play the winner of the second consolation game between #8 Montreal and #4 Alberta Sunday at 11:00 am EST. As for the Varsity Reds, their tournament ends with this loss.

Championship website:



Trinity Western

Kills: Nicholas Del Bianco (19), Bradley Kufske (16)

Points: Nicholas Del Bianco (20), Bradley Kufske (17)

Blocks: Lucas Van Berkel (3)

Digs: Steven Marshall (11)

Service aces: Lucas Van Berkel, Branden Schmidt (1)

Player of the match: Nicholas Del Bianco


Kills: Julio Fernandez (26), Marc White (13)

Points: Julio Fernandez (27), Marc White (14,5)

Blocks: Logan Keoughan, Craig Toonders (4,5)

Digs: Mathieu Losier (10)

Service aces: Julio Fernandez, Marc White, Logan Keoughan (1)

Player of the match: Julio Fernandez