CALGARY – The No. 1 Trinity Western Spartans (10-0) kept their perfect season going, taking down the No. 7 Mount Royal Cougars (6-4) in four sets on Saturday evening (25-18, 21-25, 25-14, 25-21).
Ryan Sclater (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) led the Spartans with 22 kills and hit .405, while Eric Loeppky (Steinbach, Man.) pitched in with 14 while hitting .462. Meanwhile Tyler Schmidt led the Cougars with 13 kills in a losing effort.
Blake Scheerhoorn (Belleville, Ont.) made his return to the court after missing the first nine games of the season with a leg injury and had six kills.
This is the second time TWU has entered the Christmas break with a perfect record. The last time the Spartans did so was in 2011-12, when the Spartans were 8-0 after the fall semester. That year, TWU went on to finish the regular season 19-1 before winning both the conference and national championships.
The Spartans have won 17 straight matches, including regular season and playoffs, dating back to the first game of the post-season last year.
TWU hit .370 as a team and had nine aces while Mount Royal hit .167 and had just three aces.
The Cougars and the Spartans stayed neck in neck for the first portion of the first set. Loeppky was tough for the Cougars to stop; connecting on six out of his seven kill attempts.
With the Spartans up 20-18, Sclater made a picture-perfect kill before an attacking error by Riley Friesen put the visitors up 22-18, forcing a Mount Royal timeout.
Trinity Western would go on to win the next three straight points after the timeout, putting a lopsided 25-18 score on what had been a competitive start to the first set.
While the two teams again exchanged points evenly in the second set, Mount Royal jumped ahead to a 17-14 lead. The Cougars managed to maintain their lead, and, after a missed serve by Loeppky, had a set point up 24-20.
Two points later Lachie Pollock knocked a kill down, giving the Cougars the second set, 25-21.
Sclater dominated the third set, consistently getting the upper hand at the net and hitting 45 per cent of his kill attempts. Meanwhile Mount Royal made eight attacking errors as the Spartans easily took the set 25-14.
Much like the first two sets the teams spent the first portion of the fourth jostling for the upper hand. The Spartans eventually gained a two-point lead, up 16-14, leading to a Mount Royal timeout.
With Mount Royal threatening late, three straight attacking errors by Lachie Pollock proved costly for Mount Royal as the Spartans took a 23-19 lead. A few points later Loeppky earned his 14th kill of the game to give TWU the four-set win.
Trinity Western is back in action Jan. 6-7 when the Spartans host Saskatchewan.