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NO. 3 SPARTANS DROP HARD-FOUGHT MATCH TO NO. 5 BRANDON

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Men’s Volleyball

NO. 3 SPARTANS DROP HARD-FOUGHT MATCH TO NO. 5 BRANDON

LANGLEY, British Columbia – The No. 3 Trinity Western men’s volleyball team lost a tough three-setter to the No. 5 Brandon Bobcats, falling 25-17, 25-23, 33-31 Friday at the Langley Events Centre.

The Bobcats (9-2) took the first two sets – the first in emphatic fashion and the second with an impressive late comeback – before a wild third set saw both teams earn several cracks at set point before Brandon finally put the hammer down. With a boisterous crowd on their side, the Spartans (7-4) hung right with the Bobcats in the third set beyond 25 points, but service errors were TWU’s undoing as three critical misses down the stretch helped Brandon earn the set and the match.

“The difference was they had a lot more fun with the way they played,” said Spartans coach Ben Josephson. “They were super loose, especially in the third set. Even when the pressure hit, they were enjoy that deuce set.

“Late in that third set, we got back to a good competitive focus for the first time all night, but I’m not sure if we were enjoying ourselves. Once it got to deuce set, it turned into a good volleyball heavyweight battle, like I was expecting all night. I’m just disappointed that it wasn’t there until the end. I guess the positive is that eventually it was there.”

Brandon was led by the three-pronged attack of Frank Jones, Sebastien Steigmeier and Sami Tuivai as the trio combined for 38 kills, with Steigmeier and Tuivai collecting 13 and Jones earning four. David Stasica had a match-high 41 assists. Jeremy Davies had a match-high 10 digs.

For the Spartans, it was Ryan Sclater (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) leading with 15 kills and a .464 hitting percentage while Nick Del Bianco (Surrey, B.C.) had 12 kills and Blake Scheerhoorn (Belleville, Ont.) added nine kills with just one error. Adam Schriemer (Winnipeg) led the team with 29 assists after coming off the bench.

“Since we put Sclater back to the left side, he’s been really good,” Josephson said. “That’s two games in a row that he’s been our best player, which is heard to do when you have Del Bianco on your team.”

As a team, Brandon hit .380 while TWU hit .344. TWU had seven blocks to the Bobcats three.

The first set was all Brandon. The Bobcats raced out to an 11-6 lead and never let up. Hitting .414 as a team and with Steigmeier collecting eight kills himself, the visitors rolled to a 25-17 win. Sclater had six kills for TWU, but no one else had more than two kills for the Spartans.

The second set looked well on its way to going the Spartans way early on as TWU took a five-point lead at 14-9 and held that advantage until 20-15. But with Jones, Steigmeier and Tuivai each collecting four kills in the set, the Bobcats rallied. Brandon went on a 7-2 run to tie the set 22-22. Then with the Spartans up 23-22, Brandon tallied three straight points to earn the win.

In the third set, both teams came out swinging with neither team relenting. Brandon had match point at 24-22, but the Spartans rallied with three straight Del Bianco kills, which gave the home side a chance at set point at 25-24. Then the excitement really began as the Spartans and Bobcats each had several opportunities to win the set. However, thanks in part to three late TWU serving errors, the Bobcats prevailed. A TWU attacking error gave Brandon a shot to win and then a kill from Jones sealed the win.

The Spartans and Bobcats are back in action Saturday at 7 p.m. at the LEC.

Game Notes: TWU hasn’t lost in three sets in the regular season on home court since losing to Calgary on Jan. 22, 2011…Branden Schmidt (De Winton, Alta.) is the only current player who played in that game against the Dinos…the Spartans last three-set loss on home court, including playoffs, was in last year’s Canada West gold medal match when TWU lost to Alberta.

-TW-

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