Spartans close regular season at home

Trinity Western volleyball teams hit the court at Langley Events Centre this weekend with playoff implications on the line

The Trinity Western Spartans women’s volleyball team continued their impressive run.

The Spartans have won four straight matches — without dropping a single set — as they improved to 19-3 heading into this weekend’s Canada West regular season finale.

TWU, ranked No. 3, defeated the Winnipeg Wesmen 3-0 on back-to-back nights at Winnipeg’s Dr. David F. Anderson Gymnasium.

“The girls played really well tonight, so I’m just pleased with our ability to come in here and focus on our side and do what we needed to do,” said Spartans coach Ryan Hofer.

“We’re looking to improve each weekend and I think we were able to do that for the most part this weekend. Now, we’re excited to get back home and prepare for the final weekend of the regular season.”

Saturday’s match saw the Spartans win 25-16, 25-21 and 25-17.

Sophie Carpentier led the Spartan attack with a match-high 11 kills to go along with six aces. Ashtyn McKenzie finished with six kills while Nikki Cornwall had 35 assists and three blocks.

On Friday, they won 25-15, 25-16 and 25-22.

Carpentier led the way with 17 kills while Elizabeth Wendel had nine kills and a pair of aces.

The Spartan’s men’s team was also in action over the weekend, earning a split.

The Wesmen won the opener 3-1 before TWU bounced back to win 3-2 on Saturday, improving to 19-3.

The loss did drop them one spot in the national rankings, as they slipped from No. 2 to No. 3 in the most recent U Sports rankings.

“We got off to a slow start and got thundered in the first set, but then we really laid it on them in second but then got smoked in the third,” said coach Ben Josephson.

“It was a weird game, going back and forth there. In the fourth, the game settled into a bit of groove and both teams were playing pretty well, but man it was hard to score. I don’t think I’ve seen a team defend the way they did.”

Winnipeg won the first and third sets by scores of 25-15 and 25-18 while TWU countered in sets two and four 25-17 and 25-22. The Langley visitors won the decisive fifth set 15-11.

The final set was tied at 11 before TWU scored the final four points.

Blake Scheerhoorn led the team with 16 kills and seven digs while Ryan Sclater and 14 kills and six digs. Aaron Boettcher had eight kills and three blocks.

“It was great for us to be pushed this hard at this stage in the year,” Josephson said. “We’re going to have some really tough matches coming up and this had a playoff feel. Our guys responded to the moment tonight and I’m proud of them for that. There are a lot of volleyball things that weren’t good enough moving forward, but the effort and toughness that we showed is exactly what we need if we want to take a run in the playoffs.”

Friday’s loss saw the Spartans win the first set, 25-20, before dropping the final three, 25-22, 29-27 and 25-22.

Scheerhoorn (18 kills), Sclater (16 kills) and Eric Loeppky (14 kills) led the attack.

•••

Both Spartans teams close the regular season with home games at the Langley Events Centre on Feb. 24 and 25 against the Manitoba Bisons.

A pair of straight-sets victories both nights against the country’s top team (21-1) would give the Spartans the Canada West regular season title.

The women’s team hosts Manitoba (6-16) and the Spartans look to win twice to set a new program high for victories in a single season.

The women’s matches begin at 5 p.m. while the men’s games are both at 7 p.m.

 

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