Trinity Western ends losing streak, clinches playoff berth

The Trinity Western Spartans snapped a three-match losing streak with a pair of victories, qualifying for the Canada West men’s volleyball playoffs in the process.

The Spartans won 3-0 (25-20,25-21,25-21) and 3-1 (25-17,22-25,25-20,25-20) on Friday and Saturday in Calgary against the Mount Royal Cougars.

The wins improved Trinity Western to 13-5 on the season.

Nick Del Bianco led the team on Saturday night with 26 kills.

“All of our guys did what we asked them to do in their specific roles,” said Spartans coach Ben Josephson.

“No one player stood out more than another. Nick had a lot of kills but you can’t undervalue what Steven (Marshall) did this weekend, not missing a single jump serve and having five aces.

“This weekend, our middles were dominant and did a great job of executing. Both of our liberos played well. We used double substitutions with our setters and outside hitters. That’s how we have to win. Every single player had a hand in contributing to tonight’s win. I thought they showed a ton of heart and our bench was fantastic. Getting a sweep on the road this time of year against a team playing for their playoff lives is a tribute to how tough our guys were mentally.”

The difference in Friday’s match was largely due to the Spartans superior serving, led by four aces from Marshall. The team finished with eight aces.

Del Bianco delivered 16 kills, to go along with six digs and five blocks while Brad Kufske had 10 kills and Lucas Van Berkel had seven blocks.

Jarrod Offereins finished with 31 assists.

“One of things we talked a lot about was trying to find a way to stay focused,” Josephson said.

“We tried to be not too high and not too low. Guys did a better job of that. It was a pretty efficient night from our attackers, but our serving tonight won the day. We served the ball as good as we have all year. Without that serving game, maybe we don’t even win. Our opponents were good and we just won the serving game.”

The Spartans, who maintain their fifth-place ranking in the CIS top 10 poll, return home to face the Calgary Dinos for a pair of matches at the Langley Events Centre on Feb. 1 and 2.

Spartan women push streak to seven

The Trinity Western Spartans women’s volleyball pushed their conference winning streak to seven matches while improving to 16-2 thanks to a pair of victories in Calgary against the Mount Royal Cougars.

The Spartans, ranked second in the country, won 3-0 (25-20,25-18,25-15) and 3-1 (25-21,23-25,26-24,25-20) over the weekend.

Amy Ott (14 kills, 10 digs, six blocks), Amber Brown (11 kills, nine digs) and Alicia Perrin (10 kills, 11 blocks) led the attack. Kelci French broke the Spartans single-season record of 36 aces, which was held by assistant coach Lies Reimer.

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