Sports

TWU Volleyball: Spartans tops in Canada West

Trinity Western Spartans setter Ben Ball set a new Canada West single season record for assists per set. The Spartans won the Canada West regular season crown for the first time in program history. - Scott Stewart/TWU Athletics
Trinity Western Spartans setter Ben Ball set a new Canada West single season record for assists per set. The Spartans won the Canada West regular season crown for the first time in program history.
— image credit: Scott Stewart/TWU Athletics

The Trinity Western Spartans will have the chance to defend their national title at next month’s Canadian Interuniversity Sport championships in Kingston, Ont.

The Spartans men’s volleyball team made sure of that after capturing the program’s first-ever Canada West regular season title, finishing 19-1 after a pair of straight sets victories over the UBC Thunderbirds at the Langley Events Centre.

“We had winning the regular season as one of our key goals and they earned it all season long,” said coach Ben Josephson.

“They only had one blemish on their record ... but it’s great to get that first ever for our program (and) it’s great to get another home date that matters.”

By finishing atop the conference, the Spartans automatically advance to the Canada West final four championships Feb. 24-25, which they will also host.

All four are guaranteed a spot at nationals, but the three other berths will be determined this weekend when the six other playoff teams square off.

On Saturday, the top-ranked Spartans won 3-0 (25-15,25-13,25-16) over the sixth-ranked Thunderbirds, systematically making short work of their opponent.

Ben Ball had 37 set assists — and set a Canada West single season record for assists per set at 11.54.

Rudy Verhoeff had 16 kills, three digs and a block while Josh Howatson had five aces, five kills, six gigs and two blocks.

All three are graduating seniors, playing their final regular season home match.

Trinity Western hit at .443 compared to UBC’s .071 per cent efficiency.

Friday’s match was also 3-0 (25-15,25-22,25-14) for the Spartans, with hitting efficiency  again hugely in favour of the hosts, .493 versus .111.

Steven Marshall had eight kills, 10 digs, two blocks and an ace while Lucas Van Berkel had eight kills and four blocks.

“We had a business-like attitude and the guys had great emotion,” Josephson said.

“The crowd fired them up and the guys embraced the atmosphere and played like they’ll have to play to win some of these matches in the playoffs.”

The Spartans now have a week off before they host the final four championships (Feb. 23-24) at the LEC.

“Winning that blue (Canada West championship) banner is one of our goals as well,” Josephson said.

“Now we want to be the best team in the post-season but there are seven other teams that want that as well.”

Howatson said the final regular season weekend was good for the team to get into playoff mode, especially knowing what was at stake.

“The week off is going to be good for our bodies,” he said.

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