No. 3 Trinity Western on tap for Heat’s home opener

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Conference play at home begins this Friday at 8 p.m. and then again on Saturday at 7 p.m. with both matches against the powerhouse Spartans.

UBCO TWU
.128 Hitting Pct. .258
.342 Opp Hitting Pct. .202
8.50 Assists/set 9.29
9.00 Kills/set

11.14
2.50 Blocks/set 3.14
0.83 Services Aces/set 2.00
4.67 Digs/set 9.00

Game Times (All times in PDT)
FRIDAY (OCT 17): Heat Men’s Volleyball vs. the No. 3 Trinity Western Spartans, Friday (8 p.m.)*
SATURDAY (OCT 18): Heat Men’s Volleyball vs. the No. 3 Trinity Western Spartans, Saturday (7 p.m.)*

*LOCATION: *To be played at the gymnasium at UBC Okanagan

TICKETS: Heat ticket info MEDIA: Webcast on canadawest.tv
Webcast link: FRIDAY’S GAME | SATURDAY’S GAME
FULL CANADA WEST PREVIEW

UBC OKANAGAN HEAT  No. 3 TRINITY WESTERN SPARTANS

UBC OKANAGAN HEAT (0-6, 0-2 Canada West)                        SCHEDULE | ROSTER | STATS
CIS National Ranking: N/A
CanWest Standings: t9th
Last week: 0-2; Fri L (3-0), Sat L (3-0); @ AB
Streak: 2 Losses
2013-14 CanWest Record: 4-18 (11th)
2014 CanWest Playoffs: N/A
2014 CIS Tournament: N/A
Last CanWest Title: N/A
Last CIS Title: N/A

This Weekend: The gauntlet that is the Canada Wet schedule continues to pummel the UBC Okanagan Heat men’s volleyball team, after facing the defending national champs and the preseason favourite team Alberta on the road in the opening weekend of play, the Heat face the No. 3 ranked Trinity Western Spartans for their home opener this Friday-Saturday.

Home opener: This Friday night will be the Canada West conference home opener for the Heat, the men will hit the floor following the women’s match, first serve at 8 p.m. Saturday the 2-game series will continue with the Spartans and Heat beginning at 7 p.m.

Last weekend: In Edmonton, facing the national champs, the Heat suffered a pair of straight set losses to the Alberta squad. Friday night is was 3-0 (25-16, 25-22, 25-20) to the Golden Bears and Saturday it was 3-0 (25-21, 25-20, 25-20).

UBC Okanagan Heat vs. Trinity Western Spartans Record: 0-6 in conference play, as UBC Okanagan has yet to best BC squad from Langley in a league match. Due to their relative proximity to each other the teams have met in many an exhibition tilt with Trinity winning 11 of 13 of them dating back to the 2007-08 season.

Trinity Last weekend: Open the season at home at the Langley Events Centre Trinity Western dismantled the visiting Thompson Rivers University WolfPack for a pair of wins. Friday night in 4 sets (17-25, 25-16, 25-19, 25-21) and Saturday in 3 (25-23,25-22,25-20).

Spartan (maybe) down: Left side Nick Del Bianco, who has played for Team Canada Beach, as well as own two national championship titles with the Spartans did not play on Saturday’s match against TRU due to injury. Del Bianco has played very well against UBC Okanagan in his career and would be quite a blow to TWU should he not suit up in Kelowna. In 6 games vs. UBC Okanagan: 63 kills .311%, 32 digs, 7 service aces, 71.5 points. On Dec 2, 2012 in Kelowna Nick posted a monster game: 22 kills .409%, 3 service aces, 11 digs, 25 points.

Heat Leaders vs. the Spartans:  #4 Jim Bell: 18 Kills .163%, 4 Service Aces, 12 Blocks (4 Games); #12 Kyle Pankratz 12 kills .222%, 14 points (2 Games); #8 Kristof Schlagintweit: 5 Kills .364%, 2 Service Aces, 24 Digs, 129 assists (4 Games); #5 Lars Bornemann: 7 kills .162%, 10 digs, 14.5 points (2 Games);

Spartan Leaders after one week (2 games, 7 sets):  #10 Ryan Schlater: 22 kills .269%, 4 blocks, 4.0 pts/set; #4 Blake Scheerhoorn: 18 kills .153%, 6 blocks, 3.1 pts/set; #11 Daniel Grant: 9 kills .389%, 10 blocks; #13 Branden Schmidt 9 kills .261%, 10 blocks, 5 service aces;


TRINITY WESTERN SPARTANS (9-1, 2-0 Canada West)             SCHEDULE | ROSTER | STATS

CIS National Ranking: No. 3
CanWest Standings: t1st
Last week: 2-0; Fri W (3-1), Sat W (3-0); vs. TRU
Streak: 2 Wins
2013-14 conference record: 20-2
2014 CW playoffs: 2nd
2014 CIS tournament: 5th
Last CW title: 2012
Last CIS title: 2012
preseason preview courtesy of Canadawest.org

Key additions: Carter Bergen
Key returnees: Nick Del Bianco, Tyler Koslowsky, Branden Schmidt, Adam Schriemer, Ryan Sclater
Key departures: Brad Kufske, Derek Thiessen, Lucas Van Berkel

LANGLEY – Not unlike the better part of the last decade, the Trinity Western men’s volleyball team will enter the season as serious contenders with serious talent set to make a serious run at another CIS national championship. There are certainly still questions about this year’s team, but if the past tells us anything, it’s that Ben Josephson’s squads are always in the mix, and at the end of the year, who knows what might happen.

In the preseason, TWU went 6-1, which included a pair of games with university sides in China. The Spartans’ only loss of the preseason came against TRU.

Prior to the 2012-13 campaign, the Spartans had medaled at every CIS national championship they had attended. That changed in 2013 when they finished sixth and then again in 2014 when they finished fifth.

Both of those results are no doubt firmly entrenched in the team’s collective mind as the Spartans open the 2014-15 season this weekend with sights once again set on a national title.

While the Spartans certainly have a few holes to fill – the biggest of which is in the middle, where TWU needs to replace CIS First Team All-Canadian Lucas Van Berkel – but with a healthy mix of veterans and young talent, this year’s team is once again setting up to be a force in Canada West.

Quarterbacking the team will be second-year setter and Canada West and CIS Rookie of the Year Adam Schriemer (Winnipeg). After a fantastic first year with the Spartans, Schriemer will look to take the next step forward in his progression and continue to build an offence that led the conference in hitting percentage last year at .313. Third-year Scott Plocktis (Kelowna, B.C.) has had an impressive preseason and he will push Schriemer for floor time and could certainly get a few starts over the course of the campaign.

On the outside, while the Spartans are tasked with replacing the likes of the graduated Brad Kufske and Derek Thiessen, the talent waiting in the wings appears set to take over. Ryan Sclater (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) was one of the best Spartans at times last year and he’ll be a full-time player this year on the outside after splitting time with Thiessen last season. Meanwhile, second-year Blake Scheerhoorn (Belleville, Ont.) also looks in form and set to take over a starting spot.

The mainstay on the outside is Nick Del Bianco (Surrey, B.C.). The fifth-year will be one of the leaders of this team and will be the Spartans go-to player in pressure situations. Expect great things from him in his final year at the university level.

There’s no doubt, the loss of Van Berkel, who was arguably the best middle in TWU history, will be felt. But with Branden Schmidt (De Winton, Alta.) back for his fifth year, Danny Grant (Chetwynd, B.C.) moving into a starting role and Levi Wolthius (Edmonton) quickly developing, the Spartans, who averaged a conference-high 2.80 blocks/set last year, will once again be strong down the middle.

Defensively, fourth-year Tyler Koslowsky (Abbotsford, B.C.) will be a pillar of strength and leadership for this team. Last year, he was third in the conference in digs with 2.56/set and that number will likely only go up this year. Both Carter Bergen (Winnipeg) and Mark Antoniuk (Langley) have looked strong in preseason but they will have to unseat Koslowsky for floor time and the Abbotsford product has been one of the best Spartans this year.

Ultimately, for the Spartans, this year is a bit of a question mark as to how things will play out, but, as has been the case for many years, anything less than a top four finish in Canada West would be something of a surprise.

This isn’t necessarily a team that is going to run the table, but, as per usual these days at TWU, the men’s volleyball team is going to be good and at the end of the year, it’ll likely be right there competing for hardware.

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