TWU volleyball: Spartans tame WolfPack in Canada West quarter-final
With a spot at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport national championships already in the bank — they are guaranteed a berth as the host team — the Trinity Western Spartans could have coasted into the finals.
But the Spartans men's volleyball team showed no mercy, dismantling the Thompson Rivers WolfPack 3-0 on both Thursday and Friday night at the Langley Events Centre.
The sweep advances the Spartans to this weekend's Canada West final four championships in Edmonton, while it ended the season for the Kamloops visitors.
The Spartans were superior in nearly every facet of the game, and they rode a hitting percentage of 40.4 per cent to the convincing victory. By comparison, the WolfPack hit just 19.2 per cent.
"I thought our offence was fantastic tonight," said coach Ben Josephson. "I thought our passing was really good. Ben (Ball) was a little sharper tonight; he got Rudy (Verhoeff) involved early, which opened up some other stuff.
"(And) I thought Josh (Doornenbal) was great on the right side; our two biggest high-end swingers were really clicking and I thought overall we clicked really well offensively."
Verhoeff had 18 kills and Doornenbal had 15 kills. Ball finished with 39 set assists.
The Spartans won 25-18, 25-21 and 25-20.
Dan Jansen Van Doorn and Verhoeff each also had four blocks.
In the first game on Thursday, the Spartans may have won in straight sets. 25-21, 27-25 and 25-23, but Josephson was less than thrilled with his team's performance.
"I'm pleased with the result and some of the sequences of plays, and I was really excited we were able to come back at the end of the second set," he said. "But I was really disappointed with the way we got down.
"I didn't think that we forced them to make great shots; I thought we kind of let them off the hook and then their one middle player was dominant in the second set."
He was also upset his team didn't finish the job immediately in the third set, letting the WolfPack stick around to get within a couple of points, before finally ending the match.
Marc Howatson had a team-high 12 kills and nine digs, while Doornenbal had nine kills and five blocks. Lucas Van Berkel had a game-high six blocks. Jansen Van Doorn had another four blocks.
The Spartans are seeded third for this weekend's Canada West final four tournament. They are up against the Calgary Dinos in the opening round, while Alberta battles Brandon in the other semifinal.
All four teams will play at the CIS national championships at the Langley Events Centre, which run March 4-6.