By Mark Janzen, Trinity Western University
LANGLEY, British Columbia – The No. 2-ranked Trinity Western men's volleyball team hit .434 as a team and collected 11 blocks in a dominant 3-0 (25-17, 25-14, 25-16) win over No. 9 Brandon Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.
Hitting .400 or better in all three sets, the Spartans (18-2) were nearly untouchable, running away with each set down the stretch thanks to the three-pronged attack of Eric Loeppky (Steinbach, Man.), Blake Scheerhoorn (Belleville, Ont.) and Ryan Sclater (Port Coquitlam, B.C.).
The TWU trio combined for 32 kills, with Loeppky nabbing 12 and both Scheerhoorn and Sclater putting up 10 each. Loeppky also had all five of the Spartans aces.
Middle Aaron Boettcher (Surrey, B.C.) had eight kills and a match-high seven blocks.
"I'm really proud of our guys for responding to the way we played last night and responding to the things our opponent was doing to us," said Spartans coach Ben Josephson. "We responded both emotionally and tactically. We talked about the mental test they put us under last night that we failed. The same test was there tonight and we had success. Two of our last three matches, we've performed really well. Now we need to start stacking these performances up.
"We had a great discussion today and I thought the guys played it out on the floor really well. Sclater wasn't as dominant as he has been, but then our two left sides were great. We think that's a great sign for our team that we can score in multiple ways. Aaron Boettcher was incredible overall and both our middles were very good blocking tonight."
Seth Friesen and Elliott Viles each had five kills to lead Brandon (11-9).
The Bobcats finished the night with four blocks while hitting .012.
The Spartans weekend sweep marks the first time since Nov. 11-12 that the Spartans have earned a two-match sweep of the Bobcats. Their previous four meetings all ended in weekend splits.
With the Spartans up 16-14 in the first set, the home side broke it open with a 6-1 run. With a comfortable lead, TWU pushed its advantage to eight points by the end of the set, with Scheerhoorn burying his fourth kill of the set to cap it in favour of TWU.
The Spartans hit .419 in the set, while holding Brandon to .179. TWU also had a 4-1 edge in blocks.
The second set was similar early on and with TWU up 10-9, the Spartans went on a 6-0 run to take control. Brandon didn't have an answer for the Spartans and TWU finished the set with a 5-1 run and a Loeppky ace.
With setter Adam Schriemer (Winnipeg), who finished with 36 assists, at the service line early in the third set, the Spartans went on another set-defining 6-0 run that put them up 13-7. With TWU hitting .480 as a team in the set, the Spartans never relented and with Loeppky picking up seven kills in the set, the home side cruised to the finish line.
The Spartans have a bye next weekend before travelling to play Winnipeg Feb. 17-18. The Bobcats are on the road against Calgary next weekend to play Mount Royal Feb. 10-11.
Game Notes: TWU is 15-7 all-time in the regular season against Brandon...with 10 kills on the night, Sclater moved into eighth all-time in Canada West for career kills, with 1,116…Sclater passed former Manitoba outside Dane Pischke, who had 1,115.