Canada West Quarter Final: Spartans open with win over Wesmen
LANGLEY, British Columbia – The No. 7 Trinity Western
University men’s volleyball team opened up the Canada West
quarter final play-offs with a solid 3-1 win over the No. 6
University of Winnipeg Wesmen Thursday night at the Langley Events
Centre in Langley, B.C. The Spartans took a one match to none lead
in the best of three series with a 25-23, 25-20, 28-30, 25-22 win
over the visiting Wesmen.
Left side Steven Marshall of Abbotsford, B.C. with 19 kills, 10 digs and two aces, left side Marc Howatson of Victoria with 14 kills and 13 digs, middle Josh Doornenbal of Edmonton with 10 kills and five blocks and middle Rudy Verhoeff of Calgary with eight kills and four blocks led the Spartans, while middle Justin Duff of Winnipeg with 24 kills, six digs and four blocks and outside Andrew Town of Winnipeg with 15 kills, nine digs and three aces led the Wesmen.
“Trying to serve Winnipeg off of the net was our main emphasis in order to keep Duff out of their attack. The mistake that we made when we played them in Winnipeg was that we made too many serving errors. Tonight we wanted to serve tough, but not take too much of a risk and keep the ball in play and give ourselves a chance,” commented TWU head coach Ben Josephson. “And I thought we did a fairly good job of slowing Duff down. When he is scoring it is just a nightmare because there is nothing that we can do and we know that he is going to keep them in the game, we just don’t want to let one guy beat us. We want them to have to go to someone else to put them over the top and then work to shut that down.”
The opening set was tight from the start through the first two breaks. Winnipeg came out strong and took the early two point lead, 8-6, at the first break. The Spartans were able to rally slightly, but still trailed the Wesmen by one point, 16-15 at the second break. TW took over the set after 20. The Spartans stretched the lead to three points, 24-21 after a 4-1 run. The Wesmen got to within one point, 24-23, after Winnipeg’s Maurice Williams of St. Norbert stuff blocked TWU’s Doornenbal. Undaunted the Spartans setter Ben Ball of Abbotsford, B.C. went back to Doornenbal and this time the Spartan middle was able to hit off the Wesmen block to give TWU the first set 25-23. The Spartans finished the set hitting 36.1 percent to the Wesmen’s 26.3 percent.
The second set had the same start as the first with Winnipeg leading 8-6 at the first break. The two teams battled back and forth through to the second break, with TWU holding the one point edge 16-15. The Spartans got some breathing room when a three straight points, a Howatson cross court, a Verhoeff stuff block and a Howatson high hands hit, gave TWU a 19-16 lead. After a few side outs Winnipeg was able to find middle Duff to make the score 21-19 for the Spartans. But with Duff in the back row the Spartans dominated the final points to take the second set 25-20 after Winnipeg severed into the net. TWU finished hitting at 38.2 percent to Winnipeg’s 32.5 percent.
The third set became a battle of middles. TWU came out strong in the third set. The Spartans took the early 5-2 lead, but the Wesmen responded to trail 8-7 at the first break. The two teams remained tight for the remainder of the match. Winnipeg led 16-15 at the second break. The two teams played side-out past set point. When the Spartans needed points after 25-25 they went to Doornenbal, who had three straight kills. Then when Doornenbal rotated out of the front, Winnipeg’s Duff rotated in to the front row. The Wesmen went to Duff on back to back attack attempts, separated by a Wesmen and Spartan net serve, to give Winnipeg the third set 30-28. The Spartans hit at 24 percent to the Wesmen’s 16.7 percent.
“Those two played junior national team together and have played each other their whole lives. It was just a great battle between two of the better middles in Canada West,” Josephson commented on the play of Duff and Doornenbal.
The fourth set started with the Wesmen looking like they would be forcing a fifth set as they jumped out to an early 8-5 lead at the first break, which they expanded to five points, 10-5 after an ace by outside Andrew Town of Winnipeg. Then with the Spartans trailing by four points, TWU’s Howatson scored four of the next five points to make it a one point game with the Spartans trailing 11-10. Duff responded for the Wesmen to build Winnipeg’s lead back to 14-11. TWU got things going just before the break and after Ben Ball hit a quick kill the Spartans had a 16-15 lead. The two teams matched each other point for point until TWU led 20-19. Then Winnipeg errors and TWU side outs gave the Spartans a 24-20 lead. The Spartans missed their next two chances to take the set and the match, but with a 24-22 lead the Wesmen’s serve went long and TWU took the opening match with a 25-22 win in the fourth set. TWU finished the night’s final set hitting 25.9 percent, while Winnipeg finished the last set hitting 36.8 percent.
The two teams will play again tomorrow night in the second match of the best of three series. Game time at the LEC is set for 7 p.m. The team that wins the best of three series will advance to the Canada West Final Four next Friday and Saturday night in Edmonton.
Match Notes: TWU finished the night hitting at 30.6 percent, while Winnipeg finished the night hitting at 26.2 percent…the Spartans finished the night with ten team blocks, while the Wesmen finished the night with six team blocks…Winnipeg won the two regular season matches 3-2 and 3-2 in Winnipeg Jan. 22 and 23…
Sports Information Director
Trinity Western University