LANGLEY, British Columbia – For the second night in a row, the No. 2 Trinity Western men’s volleyball team earned a five-set win (28-30, 25-22, 22-25, 27-25, 15-5) over Manitoba Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.
It wasn’t pretty, but the Spartans forced a fifth set with a 27-25 fourth set win and then took the match with a dominant final set. The Spartans raced out to a 3-0 lead and then found themselves up 5-1 after a red card was shown to Manitoba’s Alex Strachan. After the card, the Bisons never recovered and TWU pulled away for a 10-point win.
The Spartans (6-2) were led by Nick Del Bianco (Surrey, B.C.), who had 19 kills and 14 digs, and Blake Scheerhoorn (Belleville, Ont.), who had 14 kills and four blocks. Tyler Koslowsky (Abbotsford, B.C.) had a match-high 17 digs. Adam Schriemer (Winnipeg), who came in midway through the match to replace Scott Plocktis (Kelowna, B.C.), had a team-high 27 assists.
The Bisons (5-3), who were playing without star outside Devren Dear as he was sick, were led by Adam DeJonckheere, who had 20 kills and 13 digs. Ken Rooney added 10 kills and eight blocks and Luke Herr had a match-high 47 assists.
“Again, I’m in awe of Garth Pischke,” said Spartans coach Ben Josephson. “The guy who had 27 kills last night (Dear) is in bed with the flu. Then they changed formations three times tonight and still put us under the most pressure we’ve had all season. It’s why he’s Garth Pischke. His guys adapted. I thought their setter had one of the most intelligent setting matches I’ve seen from across the net in a long time.
“I have nothing but praise for the way Manitoba played, especially without their hammer. They outplayed us tonight without him. They deserved a better fate than a loss in that match. We feel lucky that we got that one. We didn’t deserve it but we’ll take it.”
The Bisons got off to a strong start in the first set, going up 8-4 and then 14-9. But TWU responded and took an 18-17 lead. From there, it was back and forth well beyond 25 points. The Bisons, hitting .136 in the set to TWU’s .111, eventually pulled away to win the set 30-28.
A close second set saw the Spartans took a lead in the very late stages, going ahead 24-22 lead after a Ryan Sclater (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) kill. Then a Del Bianco ace gave TWU the win at 25-22. Both teams improved their efficiency in the second set, with TWU hitting .259 and Manitoba hitting .235.
In the third set, Manitoba came right back and, in a set that saw the teams combine for 11.5 blocks, nabbed a 25-22 win. The Bisons had the lead throughout and hung for the win, capping the set with a Kevin Falconer kill.
The fourth set was back and forth nearly from start to finish. Manitoba took a 4-0 lead but TWU closed the gap and the teams battled the rest of the way. With the score tied 25-25, Del Bianco earned a kill to get TWU to match point and a Daniel Grant (Chetwynd, B.C.) ace finished the set to force a fifth. However, it was a controversial winning point as the Bisons claimed they never touched the serve. The dissent resulted in a yellow card.
In the fifth set, TWU scored the first three points. However, the set turned TWU’s way for good when Manitoba was given a red card after yelling at the referee following a missed Spartans serve; something that was still associated with the previous set’s winning point. With TWU up 5-1, the Spartans ran away with the set, winning 15-5.
“Sometimes you have to win on your worst day,” Josephson said. “That was the worst day I’ve seen. Getting the win helps us in the standings, but we’re going to treat that like a loss and a bad loss when we get back to training next week.”
The Spartans head into a bye week before returning to the court Nov. 15-16 when they travel to Calgary to play Mount Royal. The Bisons return home to host UBC Nov. 7-8.
Game Notes: The Spartans and Bisons have now played to five sets in six of their last seven matches…TWU hit .166 as a team while Manitoba hit .132…TWU had a 10-8 edge in aces and a 13-12 advantage in blocks.