The Trinity Western University Spartans are based out of Langley.

Langley-based TWU men’s volleyball team battles back to take Canada West crown

The Spartans went from sitting just a loss away from playoff elimination to becoming conference champions.

With a vaunted attack and dominant block, the Trinity Western University men’s volleyball team won the Canada West championship with a four-set win over Saskatchewan in the conference final Saturday.

Scores were 25-22, 25-19, 35-37, and 25-23.

The Spartans, who came into the Canada West Final Four as the lowest seed, had 18 blocks and hit .331 as a team to knock off the Huskies and win their third conference title.

TWU previously won Canada West championships in 2007 and 2012.

On his team’s third crack at match point in the fourth set, Spartans setter Adam Schriemer surprised the Huskies with a sublime dump that earned TWU the winning point.

After the Huskies won a wild third set 37-35, the Spartans responded by taking a 14-7 lead in the fourth set and holding on for the set and the match.

With Blake Scheerhoorn collecting 24 kills and Ryan Sclate adding 21 kills, the Spartans continued their impressive run that has seen them win four straight matches since sitting just a loss away from playoff elimination in last weekend’s quarter-finals.

“I thought we came out of the gate really well, but then we got a little tentative and our opponents played inspired defense,” Spartans coach Ben Josephson said.

“Saskatchewan did a great job of staying in the fight in that third set. When you get a little tentative against a great team, they make some plays. I was happy with our response in the fourth set. We went up big and they came back but this time it was more about them making great plays than us being tentative. But we found a way to grind it out.

“We played two really clean sets and two really greasy ones and nationals will be like that. There will be some clean ones and some gross ones and it’s cool that we got to get this win with both.”

The Spartans will now prepare for the CIS national championship, hosted by McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., March 10 to 12.

The last time the Spartans entered the national tournament as the Canada West champions, they went on to win the 2012 national title.

The Spartans have fond memories of McMaster as they won their first ever national championship there when they upset a highly-touted Alberta side in a three-set stunner.

This marks the seventh straight season the Spartans have made it to the national tournament.

Schriemer guided TWU’s offense with 53 assists, while libero Tyler Koslowsky, who is the Spartans’ lone fifth-year player, had a match-high 14 digs.

Middle Aaron Boettcher had a match-high 10 blocks along with seven kills and a .583 hitting percentage.

Jordan Nowakowski had a team-high 20 kills for the Huskies while Andrew Nelson added 15 kills.

CJ Gavlas had 53 assists to lead a Huskies offence that hit .216 as a team. Saskatchewan finished with 10.5 blocks.

Hitting .371 as a team and with Sclater leading the way with an errorless seven kills, the Spartans opened a 17-11 lead in the first set before holding the Huskies off for a three-point win. Saskatchewan hit .259 in the opening set and clawed back to within two points down the stretch, but was unable to get any closer.

The Spartans opened a 6-1 lead in the second set, only to see Saskatchewan tally four straight points to get right back into the set at 6-5. However, TWU extended its lead to 10-6 and from there, the teams traded points until the technical timeout.

After the Huskies closed the cap to two points, at 16-14, the Spartans responded with a 6-0 run, including three consecutive blocks, to take a 22-14 lead.

TWU, who hit .346 in the set, finished it out with a six-point edge.

The third set went well beyond 25 points before the Huskies eventually earned a 37-35 win.

The Spartans took a 13-9 lead and held an advantage throughout much of the set.

However, with TWU up 24-22 and looking to finish the match, the Huskies came back with back-to-back kills to keep the Spartans from victory.

From there, the teams traded points, with both sides getting several cracks at winning the set, before Saskatchewan finally won it with a Gavlas kill.

The Spartans responded well in the fourth set, building a 14-7 lead after a kill from middle Leigh Goossen.

TWU maintained its seven-point lead at the technical timeout and held an advantage the rest of the way. The Huskies came back late in the set, making it a one-point game at 22-21, but after the teams went back and forth briefly, the Spartans Schriemer finally finished it off in favour of TWU.

GAME NOTES: The Spartans finished the regular season sixth in the Canada West standings with a 14-10 record. TWU beat Calgary in the quarter-finals, coming back to win after dropping Game 1.

Last year, the Spartans lost to Alberta in both the Canada West and CIS championship finals.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Giants earn 40th victory in a 4-0 triumph over Victoria

Vancouver G-Men move within a point of clinching the B.C. division banner at Friday’s at-home game

Developers to unveil plan to transform Aldergrove mall into new town centre

Community to find out new Aldergrove Town Centre plan for dormant 10-acre lot in heart of downtown.

Tardi and team playoff bound in junior curling worlds tonight

Friday night Team Canada’s men’s team faces off against Norway, hoping to secure a spot in the finals

Langley’s Hong takes silver in Winter Games vault

The Langley athlete completed a tricky move in competition to clinch the podium.

First phase of 208th widening in Langley Township budget

Work could star this year, if the council approves the first project.

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

Man sentenced to 7 years for smuggling drugs and shooting at border guards in Sumas

Nathan Hall was arrested in Abbotsford in 2013 after day-long manhunt

No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

10 cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver as of Friday

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Most Read