From a fringe playoff team in the middle of January to Canada West champions, it has been quite a run for the Trinity Western Spartans.
The men’s volleyball sat with an 8-8 record in the middle of January.
But what followed was six victories in their final eight matches and they made the post-season by one game at 14-10.
Seeded sixth, the Spartans first upset the No. 3 Calgary Dinos in the Canada West best-of-three quarter-finals 2-1 and then this past weekend, beating No. 1 Alberta 3-0 and No. 5 Saskatchewan 3-1 to claim the Canada West championship banner.
The Final Four championships were hosted by Alberta in Edmonton.
Against Saskatchewan, the Spartans won the first two sets by scores of 25-22 and 25-19. The Huskies stayed alive with a marathon 37-25 victory in set three but the Spartans finished things off with a 25-23 win.
TWU hit .331 as a team while out-blocking the Huskies 18.5-10.5.
Blake Scheerhoorn led the way with 24 kills while Aaron Boettcher had 10 blocks and three aces. Tyler Koslowsky had 14 digs.
The Spartans women’s volleyball team also captured the Canada West banner and TWU became just the second program in the past 20 years to win both volleyball banners in the same year.
They have dropped just two sets in their past four matches.
“We knew what we were and what we were good at and we just executed to the best of abilities,” said coach Ben Josephson.
“We had to win out almost just to make it. The guys have been in this playoff mentality for quite a while and I think they just found a really good rhythm with it.”
While qualifying for nationals is always the goal, Josephson said he expected this year to be a learning year for his relatively young squad, which has just one senior.
He did tell people who asked that he thought his team would be scary in the second half and that is what has unfolded.
“If you catch fire at the right time, then you can make a run,” Josephson said. “It is the poker analogy, you just need a chip and a chair and then get a hot hand and that is what happened for us.”
They enter the nationals this week in Hamilton at McMaster University’s Ivor Wynne Centre as the second seed. It is the same place where the program won its first title 10 years ago.
They open against No. 7 Ryerson on Thursday in the quarter-finals.