Spartans going for gold
The Trinity Western Spartans are playing for the gold medal.
For the second straight night, the Spartans out-lasted one of their league rivals, winning in five sets over the defending national champion Calgary Dinos in the CIS mens volleyball national championship semifinals at the Langley Events Centre.
The Dinos had defeated the Spartans in last year’s championship final.
But Trinity Western coach Ben Josephson said that didnèt make this victory any more special.
“It was special because we hadn’t beaten them this year,” he said.
“Last year was in the past. This year is what we were working for.”
On Saturday’s victory, the Spartans won the first and third sets, 25-17 and 25-23, while Calgary countered in sets two and four, 25-18 and 25-20.
But in the decisive fifth set, the Spartans led from the start, building a 9-4 lead on their way to a 15-8 victory and a date with the Brandon Bobcats in Sundayàs championship final.
Rudy Verhoeff had a monster game for Trinity Western with 19 of his team’s 60 kills, while Marc Howatson had 22 digs.
The Spartans also outblocked Calgary 20-9.
Both teams showed resiliency, not allowing the other to seize momentum.
The Dinos were the top seed at the CIS championships, and spent much of the season ranked third in the country. Friday’s quarter-final opponent, Alberta, spend much of the year ranked second.
So Josephson said he knew there would be no easy matches on the march to the gold medal.
“This is what we were expecting, he said. No one is going to give you anything.”