Lucas Van Berkel was nearly unstoppable over the weekend, finishing with 23 kills and five blocks and an eye-popping 72.4 per cent hitting efficiency in leading the Trinity Western Spartans to a pair of victories over the UBC Okanagan Heat.
Van Berkel was named the Canada West male first star of the week.
The Spartans rallied from a 2-1 deficit on Friday night to win in five sets and then took the rematch in straight sets on Saturday. Both games were at the Langley Events Centre.
The results improved the Spartans — who are ranked second in the country — to 15-1 on the season.
“(They) didn’t make attacking mistakes and forced us to earn our points,” said Spartans coach Ben Ball, following Saturday’s victory.
“They had a good game plan and forced us to take what they gave us (and) our setters did a great job of not forcing the play and taking what was there.”
The Spartans won by scores of 25-23, 25-20 and 25-21.
“We played with energy and passion, but we did not play good volleyball,” the coach added.
In addition to Van Berkel’s big game, Branden Schmidt delivered seven kills and six blocks. Setter Adam Schriemer finished with 32 assists.
Friday’s match saw Trinity Western win the opening set 25-15 before dropping sets two and three 25-22 and 25-19. But the Spartans forced a deciding set with a 25-17 win in the fourth and took the final set 15-9.
Brad Kufske had 16 kills and Nick Del Bianco had 14 kills and three aces.
Sophie Carpentier delivered 29 kills, five aces, five digs and five blocks in leading the Spartans women’s team to a pair of straight-sets victories over the UBC Okanagan Heat on Friday and Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.
Carpentier’s efforts earned her the Canada West female third star of the week award.
The Spartans were ranked fifth in the country heading into the matches against the fourth-ranked Heat and with the wins, improved to 12-4. Trinity Western has also jumped to third in the country.
The Spartans had a 13-4 advantage in team blocks and 40-24 in kills, which were the main contributors to the victory.
“They are a very good team, but we were able to find a good rhythm with our block and attack to start the match,” said coach Ryan Hofer.
The Spartans won 25-20, 25-13 and 25-23.
The coach did express concern with unforced errors and missed serves in the third set.
‘We have to make sure we don’t do that and make every team work for the points they get,” he said.
Carpentier finished with 16 kills and Alicia Perron had 10 kills and 10 blocks.
In Friday’s victory, Trinity Western won by scores of 25-9, 25-18 and 25-23.
The Spartans delivered nine aces in the match, including five from Carpentier. She also had 13 kills.
“Sophie just takes such a load for us,” Hofer said. “She takes a high volume and she does a good job of managing it and putting a lot of teams in trouble.”
Both Spartan volleyball teams are on the road this weekend in Kamloops against the Thompson Rivers WolfPack.