Spartans split with UBC to open season
One night after blowing a two-set lead to the UBC Thunderbirds in Vancouver on Friday, the Trinity Western Spartans men's volleyball team responded with a win the next night at the Langley Events Centre.
The Spartans, ranked second in the country, won 3-1 (25-20,25-22,20-25,25-17) to salvage a weekend split to open the Canada West season.
The T-Birds had rallied to win the previous night 3-2 (19-25,20-25,25-19,25-20,15-12).
"I think our hitters made great decisions," said TWU coach Ben Josephson.
"When we were in trouble, we made them play the ball and then have to challenge our block."
He added that it was a much better performance than the night before.
Rookie Scott Plocktis was pushed into making his first start on Saturday after Steven Marshall broke his ankle the night before.
And the 18-year-old responded by collecting 50 assists and guiding the Spartans to a .309 attacking percentage. His 50 assists is the most-ever by a Spartans rookie.
“It’s a really hard spot to come in, get your first ever Canada West start on banner night against a big rival that had beat us last night,” Josephson said.
“There couldn’t be a worse scenario to start a freshman in his first game but the kid just performed amazing. The kid was great. He is obviously young and has a lot of things to learn but I couldn’t be more proud of how tough he was tonight.”
Just like Friday, the Spartans won the first two sets but dropped the third. However, this time they did not let the match get to a fifth set, closing things out in the fourth.
Nick Del Bianco and Brad Kufske led the offence with 15 and 13 kills, respectively. Kufske also added 10 digs and three blocks while Del Bianco had eight digs and two aces.
In Friday's season opener, Kufske and Del Bianco each had a dozen kills and a dozen digs. Dan Jansen Van Doorn added nine kills and seven blocks.
The Spartans (1-1) travel to Regina (0-2) for a pair of matches on Nov. 2 and 3.