TOP-SEEDED SPARTANS ADVANCE TO SEMIFINALS WITH WIN OVER WATERLOO

EDMONTON – The defending champion and top-seeded Trinity Western Spartans rolled into the semifinals with a straight sets victory over the No. 8 Waterloo Warriors on opening day of the 2017 U SPORTS FOG Men's Volleyball Championship at the Saville Community Sports Centre.
 
CHAMPIONSHIP WEBSITE: http://en.usports.ca/championships/mvball/index

A day after being named U SPORTS Player of the Year, TWU's multi-faceted outside hitter Ryan Sclater (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) rained down a match-high 12 kills as the Spartans wrapped up a 3-0 (25-18, 25-15, 25-23) victory in the opening match of the national tournament.

Spartans setter Adam Schriemer (Winnipeg) led TWU to a .426 hitting percentage and finished with 30 assists and five blocks to earn Player of the Game honours for TWU. Eric Loeppky (Steinbach, Man.), who was named the U SPORTS Rookie of the Year on Thursday, added eight kills, while Blake Scheerhoorn (Belleville, Ont.), who was the tournament MVP at last year's U SPORTS championship, also tallied eight kills.

Aidan Simone led Waterloo with seven kills, while Matthew Mawdsley chipped in 1.5 blocks.
 
TWU will meet No. 5 McMaster, who beat No. 4 Laval in a thrilling five-setter, in the semifinals on Saturday.

"You know what, we lost to Western two years in a row in this quarter-final a couple of years ago," said TWU coach Ben Josephson. "Ever since then, every time we see an OUA opponent, we get a little bit nervous. You don't know them and everyone's awesome at nationals.
 
"We're exhaling now because once you're in the semifinal at this tournament, everybody's great. Now it's a matter of taking a deep breath; we've got a long time to recover before tomorrow's semifinal."

The semifinal will be rematch of last year's U SPORTS gold medal game in which the Spartans knocked off the host Marauders in four sets. It will also be the third year in a row TWU and McMaster have met in the national tournament, with the Spartans also winning a semifinal match against the Marauders in 2015 in Saskatoon. TWU is 4-0 all-time against McMaster in the national championship tournament, having earned a quarter-final win in 2007.
 
The first two sets were all Spartans as TWU hit .564 as a team and cruised to a pair of convincing wins.

Committing just two attacking errors over the first two sets, the Spartans rolled to eight and 10-point wins.

"They're a good team, so they kind of dictated the tempo of the match in Sets 1 and 2," said Waterloo head coach Shayne White, whose team advanced to nationals as the runner-up out of the OUA after a 9-8 season.
 
"They started passing a little poorly in the third set and that allowed us to get our defence going. It's an experience."
 
The Warriors got their first glimmer of hope in the match in the third set when they held 21-18 and 23-20 leads. They seemed poised to continue the proceedings until TWU rattled off five straight points to steal the third set and complete the three-set sweep. While TWU hit just .241 in the third set, the Spartans held Waterloo a .033 on the attack and capped the set with three consecutive blocks.
 
"What makes our team great this season is we have a lot of different ways of scoring points," said Josephson. "We were a good side out team. We sided-out 88 per cent in the first set. You'll never lose with that.
 
"The second set I thought our service game was good and we made some really good transitions. Our third set, I thought our blocking picked up. Our sideout game wasn't great. So we made some timely blocks, especially from Loeppky at the very end.
 
"All great teams have to find ways of scoring points in all phases. At this stage, everybody's really good and everybody's well coached, so they're going to continue to adapt."
 
For Lawson, it's the third time his Warriors have bowed out in the first round at nationals, but there are always takeaways.
 
"Every time you come back here, you're coming closer and closer to winning the first round, so we'll keep trying to come back – this is three years in a row for us," he said.
 
"I thought our composure was better than it has been in the past. Our block defence has been fantastic and was good again today. We'll try to build on that."
 
Trinity Western
Kills: Ryan Sclater, 12
Points: Ryan Sclater, 12
Blocks: Adam Schriemer, 2.5
Digs: Ryan Sclater, 4
Service aces: Eric Loeppky, 2
 
Player of the match: Adam Schriemer
 
Waterloo
Kills: Aidan Simone, 7
Points: Jordan McConkey, Simone, 7.5
Blocks: Matthew Mawdsley, 1.5
Digs: Braden Cok, 6
Service aces: Nikola Dimitrijevic, 1
 
Player of the match: Jordan McConkey
 
CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE & RESULTS (All times MT)
 
Friday, March 17
1:00 p.m. Quarter-final #1: Trinity Western vs. Waterloo
2:30 p.m. Quarter-final #2: Laval vs. McMaster (USPORTS.LIVE)
6:30 p.m. Quarter-final #3: Manitoba vs. Alberta (USPORTS.LIVE)
8:00 p.m. Quarter-final #4: UBC vs. UNB (USPORTS.LIVE)
 
Saturday, March 18
1:00 p.m. Consolation #1: Waterloo vs. Loser QF #2 (USPORTS.LIVE)
2:30 p.m. Consolation #2: Loser QF #3 vs. Loser QF #4 (USPORTS.LIVE)   
6:30 p.m. Semifinal #1: Trinity Western vs. Winner QF #2 (USPORTS.LIVE)
8:00 p.m. Semifinal #2: Winner QF #3 vs. Winner QF #4 (USPORTS.LIVE)   
 
Sunday, March 19
12:00 p.m. 5th place (USPORTS.LIVE)   
3:00 p.m. Bronze medal (USPORTS.LIVE)
6:00 p.m. Championship final (USPORTS.LIVE)
 
About U SPORTS
U SPORTS is the national brand for University Sports in Canada. Every year, over 12,000 student-athletes and 500 coaches from 56 universities vie for 21 national  championships in 12 different sports. U SPORTS also provides higher performance international opportunities for Canadian student-athletes at Winter and Summer Universiades, as well as numerous world university championships.

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