Men’s Volleyball –
SPARTANS TAKE GAME 1 OVER BRANDON IN STRAIGHT SETS
LANGLEY – In what was a rematch of last years’ Canada West and U SPORTS championship games the Trinity Western Spartans defeated the Brandon Bobcats in straight sets (28-26, 25-22, 25-20) in Game 1 of the Canada West semifinals Thursday at the Langley Events Centre.
Eric Loeppky (Steinbach, Man.) led the way for the No. 1-ranked Spartans, adding 12 kills, two service aces and five digs. Pearson Eshenko (Banff, Alta.), Jesse Elser (Calgary), and Jackson Howe (Calgary) all added eight kills for the defending national champions, while Derek Epp (Saskatoon) contributed 40 assists.
Elliott Viles led the way for the Bobcats, posting 12 kills and a team-high three service aces for the Bobcats. Reece Dixon added 18 assists and 10 digs while Mason Metcalf contributed five kills while hitting .444 in the losing cause.
Brandon opened the first set to take a 9-6 lead, but a pair of Howe kills and a Jesse Elser ace tied the score back up at 9-9. Both teams traded leads frequently, before an Eshenko kill ultimately gave TWU a 28-26 first set win. The first ended with a total of 14 tied scores and seven lead changes.
The Spartans and Bobcats continued even play throughout the second, trading points once again up to a 9-9 score. After the Bobcats briefly broke ahead 12-10, TWU would go on a 7-2 run to take a 17-14 lead. Despite Brandon coming to within two late at 23-21, the Spartans would hold on to take their second consecutive set at 25-22.
Searching for their first set win, Brandon came out on a 7-3 run to open the third set. TWU would then counter on an 8-2 run of its own highlighted by a pair of aces from Jesse Elser to take a 11-9 lead. TWU would hold the lead for the rest of the match, winning the third set 25-20. The Spartans hit .567 (18-1-30) in the third and final set.
TWU held a 7.0 to 5.0 edge in total team blocks.
SPARTANS FALL TO THOMPSON RIVERS IN GAME 1 OF SEMIFINALS
LANGLEY – Despite rallying from a two-set deficit, the defending conference champion Trinity Western Spartans fell 3-2 (25-21, 25-21, 11-25, 17-25, 15-8) to Thompson Rivers in Game 1 of the Canada West Semifinals Thursday at the Langley Events Centre.
The loss snapped a collective 10-game win streak for No. 1 ranked TWU, after defeating the Winnipeg Wesmen in the conference quarter-finals last weekend. The win was the third consecutive in the playoffs for Thompson Rivers, as the Wolfpack are now one win away from the Canada West Final.
Hilary Howe (Calgary) had 17 kills, two service aces and four digs for the Spartans, while Mikaelyn Sych (Airdrie, Alta.) added four service aces and hit .286. Dora Komlodi (Calgary) added a team-high 28 assists while Emma Gamache (Langley) contributed 14 digs.
The Wolfpack were led by Kendra Finch, scoring game-highs in kills (19), digs (16), while hitting .348. Olga Savenchuk added nine kills and 13 digs for Thompson Rivers.
After the two teams split the opening two points, the Wolfpack went on a 7-1 run to take a commanding 8-2 first set lead. After Thompson Rivers took a 17-8 lead, the Spartans fought back. Led by three consecutive service aces Sych helped TWU score eight consecutive points to bring the score to 17-16. Despite the Spartans tying it up late at 21-21, the Wolfpack scored four straight to win the set 25-21.
A Howe kill gave TWU its first lead of the second set at 9-8, before the Wolfpack would regain the lead at 14-13. After both teams again traded leads, Thompson Rivers would go on a 7-2 run after a timeout to win the second 25-21. The Spartans hit .033 (8-7-30) in the second set compared to the Wolfpack’s .240 (11-5-25).
The Spartans jumped out to an early 5-0 lead top open the third, before consecutive service aces from Olivia Heinen (Langley) helped give the home side a 15-4 lead. The Spartans would outscore the Wolfpack 10-7 for the remainder of the set to take it 25-11.
The Spartans kept their momentum going into the fourth set, outscoring the Wolfpack 25-17 to take the third. TWU continued improving its efficiency in the game, hitting .226 (12-5-31) while Thompson Rivers hit .062 (7-5-32).
TWU took the opening point in the fifth and final set, but the Wolfpack responded by taking the next four to take a 4-1 lead. Thompson Rivers would lead the rest of the way
The Wolfpack held a 16.0 to 7.0 advantage in total team blocks.