Trinity Western splits with top-ranked Golden Bears

A split against the the top-ranked team in the country has the Trinity Western Spartans seeded second heading into the post-season.

The men’s volleyball team, which is now ranked third in the country, traded four-set victories with theAlberta Golden Bears (20-2) over the weekend in Edmonton. The Spartans were fifth prior to the matches.

The Spartans (16-6) host the Winnipeg Wesmen (11-11) in the Canada West best-of-three quarter-finals at the Langley Events Centre. The teams split during their two regular season matches.

Alberta won on Friday while TWU returned the favour on Saturday.

“The guys responded amazingly well to last night,” said TWU coach Ben Josephson.

“Last night we played well in a couple of phases but let a couple of things get away. Tonight, we cleaned up those plays that got away and we actually improved on some other areas.”

In addition to some strong serving, Josephson felt the play of setter Jarrod Offereins helped dictate the team’s play in their 3-1 (25-21,25-13,19-25,25-13) victory.

“I thought Jarrod had his best setting match of his career, which allowed our offence to play at a really high level,” Josephson explained.

“The stability and patience we showed and the pressure we kept Alberta under in that fourth set was great.”

Offereins finished with 46 assists and his quarterbacking helped the team finish with a .440 hitting percentage.

Brad Kufske led the attack with 18 kills while Nick Del Bianco added 11 and Steven Marshall had 10. Del Bianco also had four aces while Johnn Wiebe had 10 digs.

In Friday’s match, the teams traded the first two sets — 25-23 for Alberta and 25-21 for TWU — before the Golden Bears closed things out at 25-18 and 28-26. Marshall (19 kills), Del Bianco (14 kills, 10 digs) and Kufske (11 kills) led the team.

A big difference in the game was digs and serving. Alberta finished with 72 digs and eight aces compared to the Spartans’ 58 and four. TWU also had 14 service errors.

The Spartans host Winnipeg tonight (Thursday) and Friday at at 8 p.m. If necessary, the teams would play Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

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