KELOWNA, British Columbia – Despite playing without star left side Nick Del Bianco, the No. 3 Trinity Western men’s volleyball team still went about its work in rather business-like fashion as the Spartans beat UBC Okanagan 3-0 (25-19, 25-20, 25-21) Friday night.
The top flight offense of the Spartans was on showcase, spearheaded by third-year hitter Ryan Sclater (Port Coquitlam, B.C.), who tallied a game-high 16 kills on an efficient .303 clip. Second-year Blake Scheerhoorn (Belleville, Ont.) joined Sclater in double-digit kills for the match, posting 13 while hitting .237. Tyler Heppell added eight kills with just one error on what was a career night for the third-year outside.
Spartan libero Tyler Koslowsky (Abbotsford, B.C.) was all over the court, making numerous saving plays and collecting 13 digs that further diminished the Heat’s offensive punch.
“We’re happy to win it,” said Spartans coach Ben Josephson. “I was happy with our effort and happy with our ability to find a way to play a different style of game. Our opponent made us play a lot of defence and didn’t let our block score, so we had to dig and transition more than we have recently. We responded well to it and I thought we had some great performances.
“Tyler Heppell was great. Blake was great. And it was cool to see Ryan Sclater finish really strong after a poor start, which was a good learning opportunity for him.”
Third-year middle Jim Bell (Surrey, B.C.) was a lone spark of consistent offensive production for the Okanagan team as he posted a team-high seven kills. Directly behind him was third-year outside-hitter Alex Swiatlowski (Victoria, B.C.) who tallied six kills and one solo block on the night.
UBC Okanagan trailed the entirety of the match, but drew even with the Spartans in the final set 17-17, and looked to have a glimmer of hope that they might steal a single set off their formidable foe. Ultimately, the third set was won by TWU, but only by only by four points.
Lack of consistent production was cited by the team’s head coach Greg Poitras as a leading cause of the Heat’s inability to level with the Spartans.
“We’re showing a high level of play against a top team, but we’re not doing that over a long enough period of time,” said Poitras postgame. “We have to score better. [TWU] slowed the ball down a lot and made our lives miserable on defense, but we didn’t attack the ball like we’ve shown we can. Our outside hitters were inefficient and [those numbers] were way too low to beat a team like TWU.”
In the first set, the Heat hit -.062 with just five kills and the Spartans grabbed the opening set 25-19. The second set was UBCO’s most efficient as the Heat hit .200 and had nine kills, but TWU countered by hitting .395 and 20 kills to win the second 25-20.
TWU only made 1 attack error in the third set and, while hitting .400 as team, rolled to a four-point win.
UBC Okanagan will continue looking for their first win as they are now 0-3 to start the 2014-15 season. Trinity Western improves to 3-0 to maintain their status amongst the CIS volleyball elite.
Both squads will face-off again tomorrow at 7 p.m., where the Heat will get a second crack at giant slaying.
Game Notes: As a team, TWU hit .312 while UBCO hit .103…the Spartan were without Del Bianco, who was injured last week just prior to TWU’s season-opening match.