The Trinity Western Spartans shook off a four-set loss the night before to earn a split with a straight sets victory over the Alberta Golden Bears.
The Bears had won 3-1 on Friday night but the Spartans battled back to win 3-0 on Saturday with both Canada West men’s volleyball matches played at the Saville Community Sports Centre in Edmonton.
The Spartans, ranked No. 2 in the country, improved to 16-2.
“It was a really nice response game for us. We had much better reception and our serving game was back to what we have seen a lot this year,” said Spartans coach Ben Josephson.
“I always like playing (Alberta) as they make us better and I would like to think that we do the same. I think we saw the best version of our team tonight and hopefully we can get back to work and get better for next week.”
The Spartans won two of the three sets by double digits, winning 25-15 and 25-14 in the first and third sets, respectively. The Golden Bears pushed TWU in the second set but the Langley visitors prevailed 26-24.
The biggest difference in the match was hitting percentage as TWU finished at .347 while Alberta hit just .080.
Saturday’s victory also saw Ryan Sclater set the TWU career mark for kills as he had 13 for the match and now has 1,082 for his career, passing former Spartan Steven Rogalsky’s 1,081.
Aaron Boettcher led the team with five blocks and four service aces while Sclater was tops with nine digs.
Friday’s match saw the Spartans win the first set, 27-25, before dropping three straight: 25-19, 26-24 and 25-22.
Sclater led the team with 20 kills and eight digs while Blake Scheerhoorn had a dozen kills.
Pearson Eshenko had five blocks.
The TWU women’s team was also in action in Edmonton against the Alberta Pandas, but the Spartans came away empty-handed against their top-ranked opponent.
Alberta won 3-1 (25-23,27-25,20-25,25-22) on Friday night and 3-2 (25-21,21-25,25-23,19-25,19-17) on Saturday to improve to 16-0. The Spartans fell to 15-3.
“We had a lot of great performances tonight; there are just a few things we need to get better at,” said TWU coach Ryan Hofer.
“The difference between winning and losing against that team is not going to be major factors; it is going to be the little details and we need to find a way to take care of those little details that are going to make the difference.”
Statistically, the Spartans had the edge in nearly every category: .183 to .133 for hitting percentage, 17.5 to nine in blocks and 80-70 in digs. The Pandas had 10 aces to TWU’s nine.
“We put ourselves in a position to win, but we were just not able to close out the game,” Hofer said. “We are going to learn from this, we are going to get better and we are going to come back.”
Sophie Carpentier led the way with 19 kills while Nikki Cornwall had five blocks and Elizabeth Wendel had 24 digs.
Wendel (18 kills) and Carpentier (16 kills) led the attack in Friday’s four-set loss.
TWU hosts the Brandon Bobcats in a pair of matches this weekend at the Langley Events Centre.
The women’s games go at 5 p.m. both nights with the men following at 7 p.m.