Sports

TWU volleyball: Spartans earn national honours

Trinity Western Spartans men
Trinity Western Spartans men's volleyball coach Ben Josephson was honoured as the CIS coach of the year.
— image credit: Scott Stewart/TWU Athletics

The top seed, a near-perfect season, four of the five conference awards, and now four of the five national awards: the dream season continues for the Trinity Western Spartans men's volleyball team.

On Thursday morning, the Spartans cleaned up at the CIS awards banquet in Kingston, Ont., site of the men's volleyball national championships.

The Spartans are the defending champions and top seed after a 19-1 regular season. The eight-team tournament runs March 2-4.

Leading the way was Ben Ball, who was named the player of the year.

Other award winners were coach of the year Ben Josephson, libero of the year Jarrod Offereins, and Rudy Verhoeff, who won the Dale Iwanoczko Award, which is presented to the player who shines not only on the court, but in the classroom and the community.

The only award the Spartans were not nominated for was the rookie of the year.

Ball and Verhoeff were also named first team all-Canadians.

Ball put together the best campaign ever for a Canada West setter in terms of assists per set, averaging a conference-record and CIS season-best 11.54.

He was a master of distribution as he helped eight teammates to at least 1.30 kills per set, including Verhoeff who led the team with 3.92. The Spartans had a CIS-leading 13.68 kills per set and a conference-best .318 hitting percentage.

"Ben is the engine that runs our team," Josephson said.

"His genius with the ball and athletic ability make him the most memorable setter in our program's history."

Offereins is the first Spartan to ever win this award. He was third in the Canada West and fifth in the conference in digs per set at 3.12. That number was also single-season school record.

"Jarrod has been the anchor that has stabilized our team in terms of serve reception and defence," Josephson said.

"His ability as a serve receiver is second to none and his athletic abilities  allow him to make big play after big play.

"I sleep better at night knowing Jarrod is on our team anchoring our back court."

Verhoeff averaged 3.85 kills, 4.54 points and 1.07 blocks per set, to go with a .300 hitting percentage.

In the classroom, he sports a 3.86 grade point average but it is his community involvement which really sets him apart.

He is a Big Brother to one boy and also mentors two young volleyball players.

Verhoeff is also involved with the Spartans Student Athlete Leadership Team, as well as the leader of a group of athletes which works through different personal and spiritual growth articles and prays together.

Josephson called Verhoeff — who is playing his third position in three seasons — "the athlete every coach dreams about recruiting."

"Rudy is supremely talented on the court, disciplined in the classroom and dedicated in the community," he said.

"Our team, staff and school are all better for having him as a student, teammate and friend."

Josephson earned his award in his fifth season as head coach.

"Ben has helped set the standard for coaching excellence at TWU in a number of areas," said Trinity Western director of athletics Murray Hall.

"Ben's team understands the game of volleyball, but is also forever striving to be contributing and serving citizens who actively engage in community service, outreach and cross-cultural experiences."

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