FREDERICTON, New Brunswick – On the strength of an impressive off-the-bench performance from Ben Lieuwen (Abbotsford, B.C.), the Spartans rallied from a two-set deficit to earn a 3-2 (19-25, 22-25, 26-24, 25-23, 22-20) win over the University of New Brunswick at the Richard J. Currie Center Thursday.
After a slow start, the Spartans found their groove midway through the contest and, with Lieuwen coming into the game to contribute 16 kills and 16 digs, TWU earned its fifth preseason win in a row.
Beyond Lieuwen, TWU’s Ryan Sclater (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) led the Spartans with a game high 21 kills.
“They were awesome and jumped all over out of the gate,” said Spartans coach Ben Josephson. “Their block was solid, their passing was great and their offence was fast and efficient. We changed up a few things and we got a huge spark off the bench from Benny and Carter Bergen (Winnipeg). Benny just went off when he went in. His numbers are incredible for a guy who only played half the match. Sclater was really good and found a way to be solid when he wasn’t quite as sharp as he usually is. I didn’t think that we were nearly as sharp as we were last night as a team, but we found a way to grind it out.
“We talked about if you want to be a special team, you have to find ways to win on nights when your opponent is super hot, like they were tonight early on, or when we’re a little bit off, like we were at times.”
The five-set match was played in front of 493 people and the fans got plenty of bang for their buck for a preseason contest.
“Once that game started rolling and we started pushing back in the third set, the volleyball that was played on October 6th… you don’t see that at this point in any season,” Josephson said. “That was incredible.”
TWU is now 8-2 on the season.
The teams play again Friday at 7 p.m. (AT).