The Trinity Western Spartans were pushed to the limit for the first time this season on their home floor, but managed to pull through in the end, knocking off the Brandon Bobcats 3-2 in a battle of two top 10 men’s volleyball teams in the country.
The teams played on Jan. 10 at the Langley Events Centre.
“We just made a couple of plays at the end,” said Spartans coach Ben Josephson.
“They made a couple of errors and we made a couple of blocks and that was the fifth set. It could have gone either way.”
The second-ranked Spartans won the first two sets, 26-24 and 25-15, but the No,. 7 Bobcats stayed alive with a 25-19 win in the third set and 25-22 in the fourth.
Trinity Western improved to 11-2 and they have now won 26 straight matches — which includes exhibition and playoffs — at the LEC.
The Spartans were led by Steven Marshall (15 kills, three blocks) and Brad Kufske (11 kills, four blocks, three aces, seven digs). Derek Thiessen had a career night, posting highs with five aces and 13 digs.
Lucas Van Berkel had a match-high nine blocks and libero Tyler Koslowsky had a match-high 15 digs.
“Thiessen had a great serving night and he made their coach burn a lot of timeouts, which is great,” said Josephson.
“However, I would expect our passers to be better next time. That’s not up to what we need, especially with the talent of our middles. We need to be in system more. Defensively we were solid, not special, but solid. Blocking, other than some blown assignments, we were solid.”
The Spartans finished ahead in all the major categories, 15.5 to 7 in blocks, nine to seven in aces and with a .213 hitting percentage compared to .137 for Brandon.
The teams will wrap up their two-game set at the LEC on Jan. 12. Game time is 2:30 p.m.