LANGLEY, B.C. – The No. 2-ranked Trinity Western men's volleyball team set a program record by winning their 18th consecutive set en route to a 3-0 (25-11, 25-15, 25-22) win over Manitoba Friday at the Langley Events Centre.
By winning all three sets Friday, TWU (17-4) surpassed the previous program record of 17 consecutive set wins, which was set in 2014-15. The Spartans have now ensured they will finish second overall in Canada West, giving TWU the right to host the first two rounds of the conference playoffs.
TWU's Jackson Howe (Calgary) continued to dominate from the middle, as he had a team-high 10 kills, with just one error while hitting .692. Eric Loeppky (Steinbach, Man.) added nine kills, while middle Aaron Boettcher (Surrey, B.C.) had a match-high eight blocks, three aces and six kills.
Kevin Negus had 10 kills to lead Manitoba, while Dustin Spiring added six kills and two blocks.
The Spartans finished the night hitting .362 as a team, while Manitoba hit .135.
TWU found its serving game, collecting 11 aces to Manitoba's one. The Spartans also had a 10-2 edge in blocks.
The first set turned TWU's way early on as setter Derek Epp (Saskatoon) went on a huge serving run to give TWU an 11-2 lead. From there, the Spartans cruised to the finish line, hitting .353 while earning five aces and six blocks. Manitoba hit -.130 and had one ace.
In the second set, Loeppky had four kills to lead TWU in a set that saw the Spartans hit a whopping .524, including 13 kills and just two errors. With another three blocks and two aces, TWU earned a 10-point win.
Manitoba raced out to a 5-1 lead in the third set, but TWU slowly got back into the set, tying it at 10-10 before a kill from Howe sent the Spartans into the technical timeout with a three-point lead. TWU held off the Bisons down the stretch and it was a kill from Howe sealing the victory for the Spartans.
Ben Josephson – TWU Head Coach
"When you're playing a team going in different directions. They're playing out their last weekend of the season and working on their things and we're getting ready for playoffs. These last weekends are very complicated. But the message hasn't changed. We're trying to be consistent in our mindset. For two sets and a bit, we were good. I think there were some ball control things that we didn't focus on the way we had been. But overall, it was almost a full match of good composure and focus and that's hard in these games.
"That being said, the other aspect is that it's always an honour to coach against Garth Pischke. He is such a legend in the game and has meant a lot to my own coaching career so any time I get the chance to coach against him, it's a cool experience."
• Since losing to UBC on Jan. 25, TWU has won six straight matches in straight sets.
• Manitoba has now dropped five straight matches.
• TWU has a 23-21 all-time record, including regular season and playoffs, against Manitoba.
The rematch is Saturday at 7 p.m. (PT) at the LEC. TWU will honour its graduating seniors in a special pregame ceremony.
About Spartan Athletics
As official members of U SPORTS, the Spartans currently compete in 10 sports in the Canada West conference, including women's and men's soccer, volleyball, basketball, cross country and track & field. TWU also competes in the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) in men's hockey. Since TWU entered U SPORTS in 1999, the Spartans have won 11 U SPORTS team championships and 25 Canada West team championships.