No. 3 TWU Spartans earn three-set win over No. 1 Alberta

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November 9, 2013, LANGLEY, British Columbia (ISN) – The No. 3 Trinity Western men’s volleyball team completed a weekend sweep of No. 1 Alberta with a 3-0 (25-18, 25-22, 25-17) win Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.

After earning a four-set win Friday, the Spartans remained unbeaten on the year (6-0) as they hit .370 as a team against a Golden Bears side that had held its opponents to a .163 hitting percentage in their first four matches. The Spartans also had eight blocks to Alberta’s one. The loss dropped the Golden Bears to 4-2.

With the three-pronged attack of Nick Del Bianco (Surrey, B.C.), Brad Kufske (Abbotsford, B.C.) and Ryan Sclater (Port Coquitlam, B.C.), the Spartans made short work of the top ranked team in the country and, in doing so, won for the sixth time in their last eight regular season matches against Alberta.

Hitting .474 in the first set and holding the Bears to a -.036 attacking percentage, the Spartans set the tone for the match. A tight second set went TWU’s way and then the third set was similar to the first as the Spartans ran away with an eight-point win.

Del Bianco finished with 13 kills while Kufske added 12 and Sclater had eight. Lucas Van Berkel (Edmonton) had a match-high five blocks while Branden Schmidt (Winton, Alta.) had three aces. Setter Adam Schriemer (Winnipeg) started on back-to-back nights for the first time in his young university career and had 31 assists and three blocks.

The Bears Ryley Barnes had a team-high nine kills while Jay Olmstead added seven kills. Second-year setter Brett Walsh started Saturday’s match after coming off the bench in Friday’s game and finished with 22 assists.

“They did what we were expecting them to do and they adjusted a couple of things that put us in trouble,” said Spartans coach Ben Josephson. “However, I thought we responded well to their adjustments. Because of what they were doing, we went to Kufske and Sclater a bit more. We didn’t use our middles as much but the other guys stepped up.

“The stopped us early but then we went to a couple of other layers and that was great to see that we were able to do that this early in the season. When we play at our high end, this can happen. This is great reinforcement for our team that we’re on the right track to becoming a great volleyball team. But we have to keep training hard to make sure that on a bad night, we can still find a way to win.”

The first set was tight early on, but with TWU down 8-7, a nifty one-handed set by Schriemer for a Van Berkel kill sparked a 4-0 run that gave TWU the lead for good. Alberta never got closer than two points and a Del Bianco kill followed by an Alberta attack error gave TWU the set by seven points. Similar to Friday’s first set when the Spartans had just one attack error, TWU had just two hitting errors through the first frame.

Early in the second set, the Bears looked well on their way to knotting the match at a set apiece as they built a 15-10 lead. But the Spartans replied with a 7-2 run that tied the set at 17-17. Shortly thereafter a Sclater kill gave TWU a 19-18 edge and the Spartans never relinquished their lead. A Barnes kill got Alberta on even terms at 21-21 but three straight kills from Kufske gave TWU a 24-21 lead and a Bears error sealed the win.

The Spartans built a 7-4 lead early in the third set after a Van Berkel ace and they never looked back. Five kills in the third set alone from Del Bianco helped TWU cruise to a 25-17 win. For the second straight night, Del Bianco finished the match with a kill.

Game Notes: TWU had a 7-4 edge in aces…TWU had 33 digs to Alberta’s 32.