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MEN’S VOLLEYBALL HOSTS CALGARY IN FINAL WEEKEND OF SEMESTER

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MEN’S VOLLEYBALL HOSTS CALGARY IN FINAL WEEKEND OF SEMESTER

LANGLEY, British Columbia – The No. 3 Trinity Western men’s volleyball team will wrap up the fall semester this weekend when its hosts Calgary Friday and Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.

The Spartans (8-4) will look to take momentum from a three-set win last Saturday over now No. 3 Brandon while the Dinos (5-7) are coming off a weekend sweep of Regina.

The last time, Calgary and TWU played, the teams split the series in Calgary, with TWU winning 3-0 before the Dinos bounced back to win 3-2.

Friday’s match against the Dinos is at 8 p.m. and Saturday’s is at 6 p.m. Both contests can be seen live on www.canadawest.tv.

TRINITY WESTERN SPARTANS (8-4)
CIS ranking: No. 3
Canada West Standings: 5th (tied)
Last weekend: Brandon 3-0 L, 3-0 W
Streak: 1 win
2013-14 Canada West Record: 20-2 (1st)
2013-14 Canada West Tournament: 1-1 (2nd)
2013-14 CIS Tournament: 2-1 (5th)

After a 3-0 loss last Friday against Brandon, the Spartans looked like a disjointed and overmatched side that was far from a championship contender. After Saturday’s 3-0 bounce back win, the Spartans looked a whole lot more like the No. 3 team in the country.

Coming into this weekend, the Spartans are looking to build on Saturday’s win and have it in their minds to get a weekend sweep and enter the break with a tidy 10-4 record.

CALGARY CONNECTION
Including a pair of playoff v 2d54 ictories, TWU has won four in a row at home against Calgary. The last time the Dinos beat the Spartans in Langley was on the weekend of Jan. 21-22, 2011 when Calgary swept the weekend series. Later that year, TWU lost to the Dinos in the Canada West semifinals before ultimately getting the last laugh in the CIS championship semifinals when the Spartans won a five-setter at the LEC.

BIG BLOCK
After last season, the Spartans graduated one of the best middle blockers in program history, in Lucas Van Berkel. But despite the loss, TWU’s block hasn’t skipped a beat. Danny Grant and Branden Schmidt have created an impressive duo that is averaging a combined 2.34 blocks/set. Grant is fourth in the conference with 1.18/set and Schmidt is fifth with 1.16/set. As a team, TWU is third in Canada West with 2.65 blocks/set.

SCHRIEM TIME
Due to the nature of the Spartans setting scenario – Scott Plocktis and Adam Schriemer have largely shared floor time this year – Schriemer’s 7.28 assists per set isn’t flashy by any standard. But his most recent outing against Brandon might have been his best of the year and will likely help him start to take over a more full-time role as the starter. Schriemer had 40 assists in a three-set win and helped TWU hit .386 as a team. He and his team were particularly sharp in the second set when the Spartans hit .636.

CALGARY DINOS (5-7)
CIS ranking: NR
Canada West Standings: 9th (tied)
Last weekend: Regina 3-1 W, 3-0 W
Streak: 2 wins
2013-14 Canada West Record: 11-11 (6th)
2013-14 Canada West Tournament: 0-2 (5th, tied)
2013-14 CIS Tournament: N/A

Fortunately for the Dinos, they come into this weekend riding a high after snapping a six-match losing streak with a pair of wins last two weekend. Unfortunately for Calgary, those wins came against a one-win Regina team and this weekend’s foe will be vastly superior.

After being ranked in the CIS Top 10 for the first four weeks of the season, the Dinos dropped out of the rankings in Week 5 after losing back-to-back matches against Saskatchewan.

ANOTHER TOUGH TEST
It’s been a tough fall schedule for the Dinos as they have already been forced to play No. 1 Alberta and now No. 3 Brandon. This weekend will see them take on yet another top ranked team in the No. 3 Spartans. Against Brandon, Calgary struggled to a pair of losses, 3-0 and 3-1. But against the top-ranked Golden Bears, the Dinos put on an impressive show before ultimately losing in five sets on both nights. In both games, Calgary had a 2-1 lead only to see Alberta rally. This weekend will provide another challenge, but if the Dinos can earn a win at the LEC, it would put Calgary amongst elite company as Brandon is the only team so far this year to leave Langley with a win.

O’TOOLE TIME
Last year, Braden O’Toole was busy winning the 2014 CCAA national championship with Red Deer College. This year, after transferring to Calgary over the summer, he’s leading the Dinos offence with 3.38 kills per set. O’Toole has had double digit kill totals in each of Calgary’s last eight outings, including a CIS career-high 20 kills against Alberta. In his last game, against Regina, O’Toole had his most efficient match since joining Calgary as he hit .520 with 16 kills and just three errors.

NOW OR, WELL, IT’S GOING TO BE A STRUGGLE
The Dinos are currently sitting precariously in a tie for ninth place in the conference. With the top seven teams making the playoffs, a pair of losses this weekend would put Calgary in quite a hole with 10 matches to play. While the back half of the Dinos schedule is certainly easier than the front half, in the ultra-competitive Canada West conference, being four games below .500 would make for a most difficult recovery.

-TW-