Toronto – The defending U SPORTS champion Trinity Western men’s volleyball team knocked off the two-time defending NCAA champion Long Beach State 3-2 (25-15, 23-25, 25-21, 25-27, 15-13) on the first day of the Can Am Volleyball Holiday Showcase Saturday at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre.
After the Beach rallied late in the fourth set to extend the match, TWU responded well, finding its rhythm down the stretch to cap a wild contest between the current U SPORTS No. 1-ranked Spartans and AVCA No. 4-ranked Long Beach State.
The Spartans will now prepare to play No. 2-ranked UCLA Sunday at 7 p.m. (PT).
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TWU, who finished the fall semester with an 11-1 record and winners of 30 straight sets, opened the contest in emphatic fashion rolling to a 10-point win in the first set.
However, after that, a tight contest prevailed, with the Beach edging TWU in the second set by two points before the Spartans re-established their lead with a 25-21 win in the third set.
The Spartans looked well on their way to victory in the fourth set, holding a 24-21 lead, but a surge from Long Beach State saw the American contingent finish the set on a 6-1 run to force the match to the maximum.
From there, TWU swung right back, nudging ahead throughout much of the final set before securing the win.
The tournament is set up in a Canada vs. USA format. Through the first day of competition, Canada has two wins (Alberta also beat Ohio State in five sets) and the USA has one (Lewis beat Ryerson in three sets).
• TWU is now 2-2 all-time against Long Beach State.
• The Spartans are now 20-20 all-time against NCAA opponents.
• TWU head coach Ben Josephson is not at the tournament as he is currently with Canada’s senior women’s team as an assistant coach as the team prepares for the upcoming Olympic qualifying tournament.
• The Can Am Volleyball Holiday Showcase features four Canadian sides, with the University of Alberta, McMaster University and Ryerson University joining TWU against four high-profile NCAA teams, including Long Beach State, UCLA, Lewi and Ohio State.
• The last time TWU took on an American foe was in 2009-10, when the Spartans played both UCLA and the University of the Pacific at Calgary’s Dino Cup. TWU finished that year’s tournament with a 3-0 record against its NCAA opponents, beating UCLA once (3-0) and Pacific twice (3-2 and 3-0).
• The Spartans have previously played all three teams it will face in the Can Am Showcase, with TWU owning a 3-2 record against UCLA and a 1-2 record against Lewis.
TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE (ALL TIMES EST)
Sat. Dec. 28
2 p.m. – Lewis (3) Ryerson (0)
4:30 p.m. – Alberta (3) Ohio State (2)
7 p.m. – Trinity Western (3) Long Beach State (2)
Sun. Dec. 29
2 p.m. – UCLA vs. Ryerson Rams
4:30 p.m. – Ohio State vs. McMaster Marauders
7 p.m. – UCLA vs. Trinity Western Spartans
Mon. Dec. 30
2 p.m. – Ohio State vs. Ryerson Rams
4:30 p.m. – Lewis vs. McMaster Marauders
7 p.m. – Long Beach State vs. Alberta Golden Bears
Tues., Dec. 31
11:30 a.m. – Long Beach State vs. McMaster Marauders
2 p.m. – Lewis vs. Trinity Western Spartans
4:30 p.m. – UCLA vs. Alberta Golden Bears