LANGLEY, British Columbia – It was a rematch of last year's Canada West championship and the result was exactly the same, as the No. 1-ranked Trinity Western men's volleyball team won in four sets, taking the match 26-28, 27-25, 25-16, 25-20 over No. 10 Saskatchewan Friday at the Langley Events Centre.
The Spartans, who knocked off the Huskies to win the Canada West crown last year before going on to capture the national title, rallied after losing the first set to improve to 11-0 on the season. The win is also TWU's 18th straight overall, including regular season and playoffs, dating back to last season.
The Spartans had three players in double-digits for kills, with Ryan Sclater (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) leading the way with 17, while Eric Loeppky (Steinbach, Man.) had 13 and Blake Scheerhoorn (Belleville, Ont.) had 11.
Scheerhoorn was playing in his first home game of the season after being sidelined due to injury for all but one game in the first semester.
Setter Adam Schriemer (Winnipeg) guided the offence to a .386 hitting percentage while collecting 41 assists. Middle Aaron Boettcher (Surrey, B.C.) had a match-high six blocks. Libero Carter Bergen (Winnipeg) had a match-high nine digs.
TWU had an 11-5 edge on the block and had six aces, with four coming from Loeppky, to the Huskies five. However, both teams struggled from the service line, with the Spartans having 22 errors and Saskatchewan having 20.
The Huskies were the better side in the opening set, building a 16-13 lead before hanging on for the two-point win. After an Andrew Nelson kill, Saskatchewan went up 21-16, but the Spartans battled back to tie it up 22-22. The teams went back and forth, including a couple of lengthy rallies, until a pair of Huskies kills from Fraser and Zak earned the visitors the set.
Rempel had six kills to lead Saskatchewan, while Sclater had an errorless five kills.
The second set was a mirror image of the first set as this time TWU took a large lead, 22-16, before the Huskies rallied to tie it 24-24. However, like Saskatchewan did to the Spartans in the first set, TWU managed to hang on for the win. Kills from Scheerhoorn and then Sclater sealed the win for the Spartans.
Scheerhoorn and Loeppky had five kills each in second set for TWU, while Rempel and Fraser tallied four apiece for the Huskies.
After hitting .448 as a team in the second set, the Spartans bettered what was already an impressive performance by hitting .476 in the third set en route to a nine-point win. Loeppky had five kills to lead the Spartans and TWU ran away with the set, while holding the Huskies to a .053 hitting percentage. Rempel had four kills to lead the visitors.
The fourth set was tight in the early going with the teams trading points until 17-17. That's when TWU went on a 3-0 run to take the lead for good. Saskatchewan got back within one point, at 21-20, but the Spartans tallied the match's final four points with Scheerhoorn and Boettcher combining for the match-winning block.
The teams will meet in the rematch Saturday at 7 p.m. (PT) at the LEC.