LANGLEY, B.C. – Eric Loeppky (Steinbach, Man.) set the Spartans three-set kill record, collecting 21 kills, as he led the No. 1-ranked Spartans to an emphatic 3-0 (25-23, 25-21, 25-16) win over No. 4 Alberta to wrap up a weekend sweep of the Bears Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.
The second-year Loeppky, who finished with a .594 hitting percentage, had nine kills in the first set to launch an impressive evening that saw TWU (9-1) roll to their sixth win in their last seven meetings with the Bears (7-3).
The win sees the Spartans earn a rare piece of history, as TWU's men's and women's volleyball programs have never before both earned two-match sweeps of Alberta on the same weekend. The TWU women's team beat the Bears in four sets Friday and five sets Saturday.
The Bears Alex McMullin had a team-high 11 kills. Tariq Sani, who leads Canada West in kills per set, was held to just six kills.
In the first set, neither team took more than a three-point lead as the two sides were even until 23-23. Back-to-back kills from TWU's Loeppky ended the set in the home side's favour. Despite Alberta having a 6-2 edge in blocks and hitting .235 to TWU's .167, the Spartans nabbed the all-important opener. Alberta had five serving errors and TWU had just one. Loeppky finished with nine kills in the set.
The second set was tied 10-10 when Loeppky hammered home three straight kills to launch a 9-0 TWU run. The Bears pushed back down the stretch, but TWU held on for a four-point win. The Spartans hit .242 in the set and earned 16 kills, while keeping Alberta at .000 and just seven kills. Through two sets, Loeppky had 15 kills. McMullin had nine.
The Spartans opened a 9-6 lead in the third set and rolled from there, building a four-point advantage at the technical timeout. After that, TWU, who hit .579 in the final set, ran away with the set en route to a nine-point win.
Head Coach Ben Josephson
"Beating a great volleyball team that is coached by Terry (Danyluk) and Brock (Davidiuk) is really hard to do. I think they made some really nice adjustments in the first set. They had six blocks and anytime you have that many blocks, that's a result of really good planning. But I thought we adjusted back and stole that set. When we exploded in the middle section of the second set, I think that's when we broke the game open.
"Eric went on a hot streak tonight and was great, but what's really important to recognize is the work of Adam. Our reception held up really well, but the genius of Schriemer shouldn't be lost in this. When you can get your best spiker that many open looks, it says a lot about the quarterback. I thought Adam was masterful in figuring out how they were playing us and opening up the door for Eric to have the night that he did. It was a big night for Eric, but it was equally, if not bigger for Adam. But this is really all created by lots of people doing their job well."
• The Spartans previous three-kill record was held by Blake Scheerhoorn, who put up 20 kills in a three-setter Oct. 24, 2015 against Winnipeg.
• Including the playoffs, TWU has won six of its last seven meetings with the Bears.
• The last time Alberta came to the LEC, in 2015-16, the Bears won both matches in four sets.
• TWU beat the Bears in three of their four meetings last year, splitting their regular season series before knocking off Alberta in both the Canada West semifinal and the U SPORTS gold medal match.
The Spartans are on the road to finish the semester next weekend, travelling to play MacEwan Dec. 1-2. Alberta returns home to host Thompson Rivers Dec. 2-3.