WINNIPEG – The University of Winnipeg Wesmen defeated the No. 2-ranked Trinity Western University Spartans 3-1 (20-25, 25-22, 29-27, 25-22) Friday night in the opening match of a weekend series at the Duckworth Centre in Winnipeg.
With the loss, the Spartans sit at 18-3 on the season and remain in second place in Canada West. The win extends Winnipeg’s winning streak to three and pushes the Wesmen’s record to 13-9. They are sixth spot in the conference standings.
Fourth-year outside hitter David Bommersbach led the attack for the Wesmen finishing with a team-high 17 kills to go along with seven digs. Fourth-year outside hitter Casey Schouten was serving bullets all night, finishing with seven service aces and while also collecting 15 kills. First-year outside Ethan Duncan was a monster at the net finishing with five solo blocks.
The Spartans were led by Blake Scheerhoorn’s (Belleville, Ont.) match-high 18 kills. Fifth-year outside Ryan Sclater (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) had 16 kills and two blocks. Three local players had strong outings, with first-year outside Eric Loeppky (Steinbach, Man.) finishing with 14 kills and seven digs, setter Adam Schriemer (Winnipeg) grabbing 41 assists and libero Carter Bergen (Winnipeg) picking up a team-high eight digs.
“It looked like a team, in Winnipeg, who was playing to make the playoffs with great desperation and effort and heart,” said Spartans coach Ben Josephson. “Conversely, we weren’t playing with a playoff mentality. Now, the message is that we lost the first match of a playoff series, but if we lose tomorrow, our season is over. We have to start thinking about these wins and losses in terms of playoffs. If we lose tomorrow, that’s like us losing a playoff series. But I really anticipate great performance by our team tomorrow and it’ll be fun to watch.”
The visiting Spartans gained the early momentum taking a 16-14 lead at the technical timeout of the opening set. The Spartans used timely kills to take the first set by a margin of 25-20.
Winnipeg came out on fire in the second set. Schouten served up four consecutive aces to pace the Wesmen to an 8-0 lead. A Spartans service error soon after gave the Wesmen a 16-10 lead at the technical break. Winnipeg carried leads of 21-18 and 23-21 until a Loeppky kill cut the Wesmen lead to 24-22. Winnipeg evened up the match on a Bommersbach kill to take the second set 25-22.
In the third set Winnipeg jumped out to a 10-7 lead, but the Spartans came back on three kills by Loeppky to tie the set 10-10. The Spartans carried the momentum to the technical timeout leading 16-14. A 5-0 run by the Wesmen put them ahead 20-18. The teams exchanged points and, after seven tie scores late in the set, a pair of Duncan blocks helped the Wesmen take the set 29-27.
Winnipeg once again relied on a quick start in the fourth set. The Wesmen led 4-1 early on and went into the technical break leading 16-12. Winnipeg held a three point plus advantage for a good portion of the set to 24-21. A Sclater block cut the Wesmen lead to 24-22 but Winnipeg closed out the set on a kill by Bommersbach to win the fourth set 25-22 to take the match in four sets.
Winnipeg and TWU will wrap up their series on Saturday night. First serve is scheduled for 4 p.m. (PT).
Game Notes: Sclater’s 16 kills moves him into seventh in Canada West for all-time kills, with 1,132 kills…Sclater passed former Alberta outside Ryley Barnes, who had 1,117 career kills…Sclater also passed Barnes in career points into ninth in conference history with 1,318 points…Schriemer’s 41 assists moved him into 15th all-time in Canada West career assists, with 2,420…he passed former Brandon setter Andrew Korol.