The Trinity Western Spartans knocked off the country’s top team twice but lost out on first place because of a tiebreaker.
Both the Spartans and Manitoba Bisons men’s volleyball teams finished the Canada West season with identical 21-3 records after TWU won 3-0 on Friday and 3-1 on Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.
Unfortunately for TWU, the Bisons were awarded top spot — which comes with a bye into the Canada West Final Four championships, as well as hosting the event — based on sets won/lost.
Manitoba finished the season with 64 sets won compared to 20 sets lost, just ahead of TWU’s 65/21.
The Bisons entered Saturday’s match needing to just win one set, which they did in the second set, to get the nod.
“The objective of the weekend was not to win straight sets, but to make sure we are ready for our playoff run,” said Spartans coach Ben Josephson. “I feel really good about the head space that we are in and the way that we are playing. We have 9-11 kids who are all clicking. And I think we learned a lot about our team and our toughness tonight.”
The Spartans won 25-23, 25-19 and 28-26 on Friday night.
Saturday’s match saw the teams trade 25-21 wins in the first two sets and after Manitoba got the set they needed, they subbed out many regulars and TWU won sets three and four handily, by 25-14 and 25-13 scores.
“The first five sets that were played this weekend were probably the best five sets of volleyball that we have seen all season. The third set lost its luster when they started making some subs, but they are managing their bodies and energy too. Everyone is kind of nicked up and everyone is doing different things to stay healthy.”
Ryan Sclater led the team with 16 kills, eight digs, two blocks and a pair of aces while Blake Scheerhoorn had 11 kills and four digs.
The Spartans host the Winnipeg Wesmen in the Canada West quarter-finals at the LEC.
Games one and two are Thursday and Friday, and if necessary, game three would be Saturday. All three matches begin at 8:30 p.m.