Spartans close season’s first half with Bison sweep

Trinity Western men's volleyball improves to 11-1 while women sit at 8-4 following victories over Manitoba

The Trinity Western Spartans volleyball teams had similar ends to the first half of their Canada West seasons.

Both the men’s and women’s teams won in straight sets on Friday and then needed five sets on Saturday as they visited the Manitoba Bisons at the Investors Group Athletic Centre in Winnipeg.

The second-ranked men’s team sits at 11-1 on the season while the women’s team — which is ranked fifth in the country — improved to 8-4.

Despite the results, men’s coach Ben Josephson knows his team has work to do before the Canada West season resumes next month.

“We’re pleased with the road wins, but I’m disappointed that some of the things that were working well earlier in the semester aren’t working so well anymore,” he said.

“I didn’t think we were great in any one phase. I think that’s why we had to use different pieces of all of our phases to find enough points to win the match.”

The teams split the first two sets with each winning by a 25-22 score. The Spartans won the third set 25-16 before sixth-ranked Manitoba stayed alive with a 25-23 win. The deciding set was 15-11.

Lucas Van Berkel led the way with 16 kills while Nick Del Bianco had 12 kills and two aces. Branden Schmidt also had three aces.

In Friday’s match, the Spartans won three straight, 25-20, 25-19 and 25-17.

“It was a pretty efficient match offensively. I didn’t think we served particularly well or blocked all that well. We got off to a good start in the first set with our block but then they adjusted and didn’t let our block get on a roll,” Josephson said.

Del Bianco had 13 kills while Brad Kufske added 11 and setter Adam Schriemer had 26 set assists and six digs.

The Trinity Western women’s team lost the first two sets on Saturday, 25-23 and 27-25. The team stayed alive with 25-20 and 25-21 victories and then took the decisive set 20-18 against the fourth-ranked Bisons.

“It was a tough night and the girls really had to rally,” said Spartans coach Ryan Hofer.

“It was a big challenge for them to comeback from a 2-0 deficit. We showed a lot of heart. We had to dig deep to pull this out.  Our team did a great job of blocking and scrambling for the ball. It was a good team effort and to be able to come into Manitoba and take two is huge.”

The Spartans had three players in double digits in kills led by Sophie Carpentier’s 22. Royal Richardson and Alicia Perrin, who had 19 and 18, respectively.

Carpentier also had 21 kills on the Friday night as the Spartans won 3-0 (28-26, 25-16, 28-26).

The final set saw the team overcome an 11-1 deficit for the 28-26 win.

“We just tried to make Manitoba make plays off our serves and see how they would handle it,” Hofer said.

“I was really pleased with how the team played tonight. We needed a full team effort to make this happen and the people who came off the bench did an outstanding job of raising the level of play on the floor so we could come back from a huge deficit in that third set.”

Langley Times