The No. 1-ranked Trinity Western men’s volleyball team moved within one win of clinching first place in the Canada West standings, as the Spartans rolled to a 3-0 (25-17, 25-22, 25-16) win over No. 9 Thompson Rivers Friday on the Warner Rentals court at the Tournament Capital Centre.
The Spartans, who split with No. 2 UBC last weekend, move to 21-2 on the season, while the WolfPack fall to 11-12. TWU is one win ahead of the Thunderbirds (20-3) in the race for top spot in the conference.
Despite the loss, TRU solidified a playoff spot after UBC downed the Saskatchewan Huskies as well on Friday night. The loss snapped TRU’s winning streak at a franchise best eight.
TWU was led offensively by Jesse Elser (Calgary) and Eric Loeppky (Steinbach, Man.) with nine kills apiece. Loeppky also had five aces. Charlie Bringloe had a team-high six kills for TRU.
As a team, TWU hit .364, while TRU was held to .148.
The WolfPack and Spartans were tight early in the first set, as TWU held just a three-point lead at the technical timeout. After that, TWU found its rhythm and went on to take the set 25-17.
In the second set, the WolfPack kept it close and led 11-9 at one point thanks to some key serves by Cole Keddie. TRU was up 15-11, but the Spartans rallied to tie it up before TRU scored to go into the technical time out up 16-15. The Spartans again went on a late rally to win 25-22. Elser had six kills at that point of the match to lead TWU. TRU’s main weapons were Bringloe and Jordan Foot, with four kills apiece.
In the third set, TWU went on a pair of 3-0 runs to reach the technical time out leading by eight and never allowed TRU to climb back into the set.
The Spartans finished with six team blocks to TRU’s four.
TWU Head Coach Ben Josephson
“We had trouble serving early, which is always the case on the road and we’ve often found this place difficult to serve in. But once we got our bearings, we served the ball pretty well. We were pretty smooth offensively. We made a few errors that were a little uncharacteristic, but overall it was a pretty good offensive night.
“Defensively is where we lacked. I thought there was a lot of systematic breakdowns on the things that we were trying to do. The game was going well, but we weren’t executing and those little execution plays matter 10-fold in the playoffs. Tomorrow night, that’s going to be a point of emphasis. We want to continue to play smooth in the offensive end, but defensively we want to be a little sharper.”