TWU volleyball: Spartans open season with pair of victories

The Trinity Western Spartans had to rally for victory on the season's opening night for a five-set victory and then completed the two-game sweep of the Saskatchewan Huskies with a four-set win on Saturday in Saskatoon.

The top-ranked Spartans won 3-2 (23-25,21-25,25-12,25-17,17-15) and 3-1 (25-21,25-18,23-25,25-18) to open the Canada West season.

Trinity Western is ranked No. 1 in the country.

"It was another tough match," said coach Ben Josephson, following Saturday's victory.

"We were able to separate in the first and second set but never really felt we could get rid of those guys.

"I was happy with our performance; our guys keep showing lots of toughness."

Rudy Verhoeff led the Spartans with 15 kills while Steven Marshall had 13 kills. Dan Jansen Van Doorn had a game-high six blocks.

The Spartans finished with a .293 hitting percentage while Saskatchewan was .163 on the attack.

In Friday's match, the Spartans dropped the first two sets before rallying to win in five.

Verhoeff had 20 kills, including scoring on six of seven attacks in the third set to turn the match's momentum.

"In the third set, our passing picked up and our serving picked up and we did a great job of adjusting at the net," Josephson said.

"We carried that over into the fourth, slowed the ball down and transitioned well and then ended up squeaking out a nail-biter in the fifth.

"The guys made just enough plays to get through a tough season opener against a gritty opponent."

Marshall had a game-high 24 kills while Marc Howatson had a dozen kills.

Trinity Western is off this week and back in action on Nov. 11 and 12 when they travel to Brandon (0-2) to face the team they beat in last year's CIS national championship final.

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