Spartans push win streak to five
A pair of victories over the visiting Thompson Rivers WolfPack have extended the Trinity Western Spartans men's volleyball team's win streak to five.
The Spartans (5-1) hosted the WolfPack over the weekend at the Langley Events Centre, winning 3-1 and 3-0. Trinity Western maintains its second-place ranking in the national polls.
“I thought we played really well,” said Spartans coach Ben Josephson. “We knew they would be better so the challenge for us was to see how much better we could be. We have some guys who are pretty banged up right now but we had some gutsy performances from them, especially Dan (Jansen Van Doorn), who gave us what we needed for two sets.
“Our serving was really good tonight. We kept our high-end serving but we didn’t miss as many, so we kept them under a lot of pressure. Credit to them though because they hung around by making some good scramble plays. In the end though, I thought we were a lot better than last night and our guys made the technical adjustments we needed.”
The Spartans won 25-18, 25-20 and 25-18.
Brad Kufske led the way with 17 kills, along with six digs and three blocks.
Branden Schmidt had 10 kills, five digs and three blocks and Lucas Van Berkel had seven kills, five blocks and an ace.
Nick Del Bianco had a team-high eight digs while setter Scott Plocktis had 36 assists.
In Friday's match, the WolfPack took the opening set 25-23 but the Spartans responded by winning 25-21 and 25-20 in sets two and three. The fourth set was back and forth with Trinity Western prevailing 30-28 to take the match.
“We had good performances from everybody, but offensively it was just a grind and that’s how this first semester is going to be,” said Josephson. “We’re going to have to grind and grease these wins.
“In the first set, we were playing fine, but we missed four or five defensive opportunities in a row and they took advantage by collecting 17 kills in the set. I thought we were the better team for most of it but we missed some chances in transition. We had a good response in the second and a good response in the third and then the fourth we jumped out early and then lost composure. Down the stretch, it was exciting back and forth volleyball, at least for the fans, and it was clear both teams understood what was at stake. At times the pressure got to us, but we managed to pull it out in the end.”
The WolfPack had the better attacking percentage — .235 to .229 — but the Spartans out-blocked their foes 10.5 to six.
Del Bianco had a team-high 13 kills and five blocks while Kufske had 10 kills go along with his 15 digs and two blocks.
Derek Thiessen had nine kills and four blocks and libero Tyler Koslowsky had a match-high 20 digs.
Next up for the Spartans is a pair of home games against the Saskatchewan Huskies on Nov. 16 and 17 at the LEC.