The clash of the Canada West titans lived up to the hype Friday night, as the No. 1 Trinity Western Spartans took a thrilling five-set victory (25-22, 22-25, 25-18, 25-27, 15-10) over the No. 2 UBC Thunderbirds at War Memorial Gym.
TWU improved to a Canada West leading 16-1 on the season and extended their winning streak to 15 consecutive matches. The ‘Birds had their 12-match winning streak snapped and are now tied with the Alberta Golden Bears (13-4) for second in the conference.
Eric Loeppky (Steinbach, Man.) racked up 21 kills for the Spartans with four service aces, four total blocks and five digs in the hard-fought victory.
With his second ace of the night, Loeppky became the Canada West all-time leader in career aces. Loeppky how has 147 career aces, passing former Brandon Bobcat Paul Sanderson, who finished his career with 144 aces.
TWU’s Jackson Howe (Calgary) totalled 16 kills with a .591 hitting percentage and an ace, while Pearce Eshenko (Banff, Alta.) added 12 kills with six total blocks and an ace.
Matt Neaves led the ‘Birds with 15 kills on .429 hitting, Michael Dowhaniuk had 10 kills with three total blocks and two aces, and Gerard Murray put up six kills with six total blocks in the loss.
There wasn’t much separating the two teams coming into the matchup, and the first set was par for the course. With the score knotted up at 9-9, the Spartans went on a brief three-point run and carried that lead into the first technical timeout up 16-13. Henry Rempel (Swift Current, Sask.) kept the three-point edge at 20-17. The teams traded points until another T-Bird service error lifted TWU to a 25-22 first set finish.
Brodie Hofer (Langley, B.C.) served up an ace for TWU at 10-7 in the second set but gave it back after his next serve sailed long. Hofer smacked a kill at 14-12 Spartans, but Neaves responded with a huge kill off the block to make it a one-point deficit. Down 16-13 again at the technical timeout, the ‘Birds stormed back and tied it at 16-16 on a TWU attack error. Loeppky came up with a big block to force a UBC timeout at 20-18 before Murray stoned Eshenko to draw even at 20-20. The T-Birds earned an edge on a service error to go up 23-22 and Nick Mickelberry gave the home team their first set point on a nifty kill on his first attack of the match. Backup setter Zec Johnson stepped up to the service line and dropped in an ace to lift UBC to a 25-22 set win.
TWU jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the third and maintained the advantage to yet another 16-13 score at the technical timeout. The Spartans took control and went up 23-17 on a string of UBC errors before Derek Epp (Saskatoon) earned a kill and Hofer served an ace to take the set 25-18.
The fourth set was tied at 8-8 before Jordan Deshane cranked a kill and the ‘Birds gained momentum on a big block by Dowhaniuk and Murray at 15-12. Once again, the scoreboard read 16-13 at the technical timeout – but for the first time in UBC’s favour. It didn’t last long before the Spartans tied it at 16-16 on a Howe ace and retook the lead at 19-18 with a Loeppky kill. Johnson dropped his second ace of the match at 23-23 and Murray came up with block to give the ‘Birds a set point. The set continued until TWU served long to give UBC their third set point, and captain Deshane put up the block to send the match to a fifth and deciding set.
TWU quickly earned a 4-0 lead on a UBC error and Loeppky snuck a lefty tip past the T-Bird block to go up 5-1.The teams traded missed serves and switched ends with the Spartans up 8-4. A T-Bird service error gave the No. 1-ranked Spartans a set point at 14-7, but UBC stayed alive on a crucial block. T-Bird setter Ben Hooker served up back-to-back aces to extend the match, but Jacob Kern (Edmonton) closed it out at 15-10.
Hilary Howe (Calgary) had 19 kills to lead No. 2-ranked Trinity Western to a 3-1 (25-20, 25-23, 19-25, 25-20) win over UBC Friday at the War Memorial Gym.
The Spartans improved to a Canada West leading 17-2, while the loss drops UBC to 8-9 on the season.
It wasn’t the cleanest game for either side with UBC committing 27 total attacking errors to Trinity Western’s 25. But the Spartans managed to take advantage of their opponents’ errors more regularly while hitting .144 on the night to the ‘Birds’ .132.
Howe finished the night with a .240 attacking along with three service aces.
Mikaelyn Sych (Airdrie, Alta.) had a match-high seven blocks while Savannah Purdy (Victoria) led TWU with 12 digs to go with eight kills. Dora Komlodi (Calgary) had 34 assists.
Gabrielle Attieh had 12 kills to lead UBC. Laura Worsley had a match-high 22 digs.
Tessa Davis kick-started a T-Birds roll early in the opening set with a service ace as part of a 5-0 run to take a 7-3 lead, forcing the Spartans to burn their first timeout. The break had its desired effect as the visitors went on a 5-0 run of their own to take an 8-7 advantage.
After falling down by four at the technical timeout, the ‘Birds battled back late in the opening set, led by Jayde Robertsen who put up back-to-back kills following by a nifty Brynn Pasin tip over the net to cut the deficit to 22-20. But the Spartans were able to fend off the T-Birds’ charge as Savannah Purdy (Victoria) hammered her third kill of the set in timely fashion to clinch the frame.
After trading points to get to 10-10 in the second set, UBC went ahead with one of Attieh’s team-leading 12 kills on the night while the ‘Birds went on to take a 16-14 advantage at the break.
But yet again, the Spartans proved why they’re such a dangerous squad, re-taking the lead 22-21, eventually holding on for the victory, putting the ‘Birds on the ropes.
It was an impressive third set for UBC, rocketing out to the early lead which they held 16-7 at the timeout.
That T-Birds lead dwindled to just four at 20-16, but Attieh took charge at the net front with back-to-back kills, expanding UBC’s cushion and securing the eventual set win.
Trinity Western mimicked UBC’s third-set run to start the fourth but the T-Birds refused to go away quietly, taking an 8-7 lead on a Spartans attack error. But the rally was short-lived as TWU went up by four at the technical timeout, never looking back.
Men’s Basketball Player Ineligible For Remainder Of The Season
A Trinity Western University administrative error related to the misapplication of the U.S. student transfer rule has resulted in Spartans men’s basketball player Ja’Qualyn Gilbreath (Amarillo, Texas) being ineligible for the remainder of the 2019-20 season.
“We are incredibly disappointed that we did not catch this,” said Jeff Gamache, Director of Athletics. “As soon as we realized our error, we reported it to Canada West and U SPORTS. We are now awaiting a hearing with U SPORTS to understand the long-term implications. It’s guts me to know that Ja’Qualyn and the team have been impacted by our administrative error.”
188.8.131.52.3 Non-Canadian Degree Granting Institutions
A student-athlete, who transfers to a U SPORTS member institution team from a non-Canadian post-secondary degree granting institution team (such as the NCAA or NAIA), shall be eligible to participate immediately in U SPORTS competition, unless:
f. the student-athlete is not a Canadian Citizen or does not have permanent resident status in Canada, in which case the individual cannot participate for a period of 365 days from the date that the athlete last participated in the sport in which they participated at their former institution.
Alberta had six players hit double digits in scoring, as the Bears rolled to a 113-68 win over Trinity Western Friday at the Langley Events Centre.
Adam Paige led the way for the Bears (14-1), earning a double-double, with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Geoffrey James added 18 points, while Lars Ishimwe had 17 points.
TWU’s Riley Braich (Abbotsford, B.C.) had 15 points to lead the Spartans in scoring, while Ethan DaSilva (Calgary) had 13 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Andrew Goertzen (Langley) had 10 points.
Alberta shot 54.3 per cent (44-81) from the field, while TWU shot 35.7 per cent (25-70).
The Bears raced out to a 14-2 lead just five minutes into the first quarter, setting the tone for the rest of the game, as Alberta went on to outscore TWU 34-13 through 10 minutes. Alberta’s Paige had a team-high 10 points in the frame for a Bears side that shot 54.5 per cent (12-22) from the field. Braich had six points for the Spartans, who shot 35.7 per cent (5-14).
The second quarter was more of the same, as Alberta rang up another 23 points while holding TWU to 12 points to take a 57-25 lead into halftime.
Paige had 13 points and James had 12 points at the break for the Bears, who had six players with six or more points in the first half. Braich had a team-high eight points for TWU, while Goertzen had seven points.
TWU was better in the second half, but the Spartans never threatened the Alberta lead, with the Bears outscoring TWU 56-43 over the final 20 minutes.
The Alberta Pandas put together a staunch 40-minute defensive effort to earn a 62-36 win over Trinity Western Friday at the Langley Events Centre.
After holding TWU to 22 points in the first half (37-22), the visitors were even better defensively in the second half, giving up just 14 points.
Vanessa Wild had 13 points to lead the Pandas (13-2) while Sydney Fedick had 10 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
The Spartans Teanna Bradshaw (Oshawa, Ont.) had a season-high nine points, while adding 10 boards, to lead TWU (3-12). Nicole Fransson (Edmonton) added 12 rebounds to go with six points.
The Pandas finished the night shooting 42.4 per cent from the field (25-59) while the Spartans shot just 17.5 per cent (10-57). TWU had a 47-52 edge on the glass.
Alberta came of the gate shooting 64.3 (9-14) from the field in the first quarter on route to a 19-10 lead through 10 minutes. The Spartans meanwhile shot just 25 per cent (4-16).
The Pandas pushed their lead to 15 points by halftime, outscoring the Spartans 18-12 in the second quarter to take a 37-22 edge into the break. Both teams operated with a balanced attack, as Alberta had nine players hit the scoresheet, with no one scoring more than six points, while the Spartans had seven players score, with no one collecting more than five points.
The third quarter was close throughout, but the Pandas pushed their lead to 18 points after 30 minutes after outscoring TWU 13-10.
Both teams put up a defensive wall early in the fourth quarter, with neither side able to score for the first 3:13. From there, the defence continued the rest of the way, with Alberta putting up 12 points to the Spartans four in the final frame.
TWU finished the second half holding the highly-touted Pandas who average 69.5 points per game, to just 25 points.
An early shorthanded goal from Joe Sylvain (Girouxville, Alta.) and third period game-winner from Josh Sylvain (Girouxville, Alta.) lifted the Trinity Western Spartans to a 5-4 victory over Selkirk College Friday at the Langley Events Centre.
Brandon Potomak (Aldergrove, B.C.) collected a goal and two assists for TWU (13-1-0-1), with Dylan Cusmano (Abbotsford, B.C.) and Spencer Gerth (Langley) also scoring for the first-place Spartans.
Saints first-year forward Jaiden LaPorte picked up two goals and two assists for Selkirk (5-9-0-3), as Edward Lindsey and Dylan Heppler added singles.
Potomak got TWU on the board early, streaking down the left wing and firing a sharp angle shot past Jared Breitkreuz to give the Spartans an early lead. Nine minutes later Selkirk tied the game up, when Lindsey scored off a LaPorte pass on a two-on-one to tie the game up at 1-1.
Just 20 seconds after TWU took a too many men on the ice penalty, Joe Sylvain then scored a shorthanded goal off a wrist shot to regain the Spartans lead at 2-1.
Into the second period the Saints once again tied the game up, with a rebound from a Lindsey shot coming out to Heppler who scored at 4:28 of the second to make it 2-2.
Five minutes later Spartans forward Cusmano took a Potomak feed to once again give TWU the one goal lead. The Spartans then added another with 4:57 remaining in the second frame, as Gerth scored on the powerplay for his second goal of the season, beating Breitkreuz from in the crease to make it 4-2.
The third period saw TWU then push their lead to three, with Josh Sylvain deflecting a pass from his brother Joe into the net on a two-on-one to make it 5-2 in favour of the home side.
Just 21 seconds later the Saints got back on the board, however, as LaPorte scored on a breakway and beat Mills five-hole to make it 5-3.
LaPorte added another with just 2:24 remaining, but TWU would hold on for the win on home ice.
Saints goaltender Breitkreuz stopped 42 of the Spartans 47 shots in the game, while Lucas Mills (Burnaby) turned aside 19 shots to pick up his ninth win of the season (9-1-0).