TWU men’s volleyball team snap a four-game losing streak

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WINNIPEG – The Trinity Western men’s volleyball team snapped a four-game losing streak and in the process knocked off one of the top teams in the country as the Spartans earned a 3-1 (25-20, 28-26, 21-25, 25-23) win over No. 3 Manitoba Friday at Investors Group Athletic Centre.

The Spartans (9-8), who were without a win since a semester-ending victory against Mount Royal Nov. 28, hit .322 as a team and had a 10-5 edge in blocks to send the Bisons (12-3) to just their third loss of the season.

Blake Scheerhoorn led the way for the Spartans with 20 kills while Ryan Sclater (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) added 14 kills. Aaron Boettcher (Surrey, B.C.), who returned to the court after sitting out last Saturday’s game due to an injury, had a team-high six blocks to go with eight kills. Setter Devyn Plett (Winnipeg) had 45 assists while libero Tyler Koslowsky (Abbotsford, B.C.) had a match-high 11 digs.

Devren Dear led the Bisons with 23 kills while setter Luke Herr had a match-high 50 assists.

The Spartans had a 6-2 edge in aces while Manitoba had 43 digs to TWU’s 31.

“It was a good win for us tonight,” said Spartans coach Ben Josephson. “I thought we were really prepared for the first set and came out strong. In the second set, they started getting better and we did a good job of stealing that set after giving up a lead. In the third set, they kept getting better and we got tentative. But then I thought we found our rhythm halfway through the fourth set and managed to get that one.

“I don’t know that we were clean, but I thought we were gutsy and that’s something we needed to show. If we can be clean and gusty tomorrow, we have a chance to maybe do it again. We know they’ll be better and it’s tough to sweep a team on the road, but we’re looking forward to the challenge.”

During the first set, TWU outplayed Manitoba at the net, racking up 11 kills and three blocks while Manitoba had one block and eight kills. Scheerhoorn led TWU with six kills to give them a 25-20 win.

The second set was more evenly matched, with both teams trading the lead throughout. It was an extended set that pitted the kills of Manitoba’s Dear against Scheerhoorn. Eventually a Spartans block capped the set with a kill at 28-26 for TWU.

Manitoba pulled ahead to a five-point lead halfway through the third set. With Josh Crellin and Adam DeJonckheere stepping up to help Dear at the net, the Bisons held their lead to win 25-21 and bring the game to a fourth set.

The fourth set was much like the second, with both teams constantly trading the lead. With the game 22-21 for Manitoba, Scheerhoorn stepped up to deliver some big blocks and kills to put his team over the edge, winning a hard-fought fourth set 25-23.

“It was really cool to see our three Winnipeg kids having matches here with all their friends and family watching, with Carter (Bergen), Adam (Schriemer) and Devyn all contributing to the win,” Josephson said. “It was nice to see Aaron return to the court and he had a big impact on tonight’s game.”

The two teams will play each other again Saturday at 1 p.m. (PT) at Investors Group Athletic Centre.

Game Notes: The Spartans came into Friday’s game unranked for the first time since Oct. 29, 2008…Prior to this week, they had been ranked in 101 consecutive CIS polls…Manitoba’s only other losses of the season were against undefeated Alberta.

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