HAMILTON (CIS) – The stars were familiar for the second-seeded Trinity Western Spartans on Thursday, as they navigated a difficult challenge at the quarterfinal stage of the 50th CIS Men’s Volleyball Championship presented by Leggat Auto Group.
The outside duo of Ryan Sclater and Blake Scheerhoorn accounted for 43.5 of Trinity Western’s 71 points as a team, as the Spartans defeated the No. 7 Ryerson Rams 3-1 (25-19, 25-22, 23-25, 26-24) in the tournament opener to advance to Friday’s semifinal round.
Spartans head coach Ben Josephson admitted that his team was far from their best on Thursday, but credited their resolve in battling past an unfamiliar opponent.
“I don’t think we really played our game, and part of that is because you’re playing this match against a team you haven’t seen,” he said. “But to be able to grease our way through that match and get through to the next round was key.”
Winning the first two sets, the Spartans put their OUA opposition on the back heel early, and Ryerson head coach Dustin Reid believed that kept his team on edge.
“We felt good with the competitiveness of the second set, that we would give ourselves a chance to win, and we did that in the third,” said Reid. “But we put ourselves in a position after that start where we couldn’t relax.”
The Rams opened Thursday’s match with promise, finding middle Marc Reardon for four points before the technical timeout, and leading at 10-9 in the opening set. But the pair of Blake Scheerhoorn and Ryan Sclater paced the Spartans attack on the outside, hitting 67 and 44 per cent respectively in the set and accounting for 11 kills, as Trinity Western pulled away for the 25-19 win.
Demonstrating the defence that helped them secure the banner in the ultra-competitive Canada West conference, the Spartans dug up 16 balls as a team in set two, and put setter Adam Schriemer in system often, as he ended the set with a two-set total of 27 assists. Once again the tandem of Sclater and Scheerhorn was lethal, with 12 more kills between them, as Trinity Western extended their overall lead with a 25-22 set victory.
Pushing back with the help of their servers, who began to slow Trinity’s passing, Ryerson began to swing the momentum of the quarterfinal in the third set. After hitting just 15 per cent in the second, the Rams were back in system in the third, and reached 39 per cent hitting as a team. From 14-all, the Rams reeled off a crucial four-point run for 18-14, with Brett Whitley toeing the service line. Trinity Western nearly erased the deficit late — drawing to within a point at 23-24 through a Scott Plocktis kill — but Robert Wojcik secured the set with a cut shot on the next point.
“I think their servers got a lot hotter in that third set,” said Josephson of the Ryerson turnaround. “Our receivers started to break down and then we got into a transition game, and Ryerson’s really good.
“They’ve got some great high ball swingers like Wojcik and Coleman. And once we were out of system, their size started to show in the blocking.”
That trend looked to continue in the fourth, where an Alex Dawson service run helped the Rams to grab a 15-11 lead. But that advantage evaporated after the technical timeout, as a number of errors, including three from outside Lucas Coleman, saw Ryerson slip and Trinity Western tie at 18. That marked the last lead that Ryerson would hold, and after Scheerhoorn killed to bring up match point at 25-24, Coleman missed a shot wide to end the match.
Complete Stats: http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/mvball/2016/championship
Kills: Blake Scheerhoorn (21), Ryan Sclater (20)
Points: Blake Scheerhoorn (22), Ryan Sclater (21.5)
Blocks: Aaron Boettcher (2.1)
Digs: Tyler Koslowsky (9)
Service aces: Adam Schriemer (2), Aaron Boettcher (2)
Player of the match: Blake Scheerhoorn
Kills: Lucas Coleman (15), Robert Wojcik (14)
Points: Robert Wojcik (18), Lucas Coleman (16)
Blocks: Uchenna Ofoha (1.5)
Digs: Adam Anagnostopoulos (10)
Service aces: Robert Wojcik (2)
Player of the match: Marc Reardon
CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE & RESULTS
Thursday, March 10
13:00 Quarter-final #1: Trinity Western 3, Ryerson 1 (25-19, 25-22, 23-25, 26-24)
15:00 Quarter-final #2: Alberta vs. Laval (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
18:00 Quarter-final #3: Saskatchewan vs. UNB (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
20:00 Quarter-final #4: Waterloo vs. McMaster (Cable 14 & www.CIS-SIC.tv)
Friday, March 11
13:00 Consolation #1: Loser QF #1 vs. Loser QF #2 (Cable 14 & www.CIS-SIC.tv)
15:00 Consolation #2: Loser QF #3 vs. Loser QF #4 (Cable 14 & www.CIS-SIC.tv)
18:00 Semifinal #1: Winner QF #1 vs. Winner QF #2 (Cable 14 & www.CIS-SIC.tv)
20:00 Semifinal #2: Winner QF #3 vs. Winner QF #4 (Cable 14 & www.CIS-SIC.tv)
Saturday, March 12
13:00 5th place (Cable 14 & www.CIS-SIC.tv)
15:00 Bronze medal (Cable 14 & www.CIS-SIC.tv)
18:00 Championship final (Cable 14 & www.CIS-SIC.tv) *
* Tape delayed to 22:00 on Cable 14.