CALGARY, Alta. (from TWU Spartans) – The No. 2 Trinity Western Spartans extended their win streak to a program best 15 consecutive matches Saturday night, completing a weekend sweep of the tenth-ranked University of Calgary Dinos with a 3-1 (25-22, 18-25, 25-23, 25-9) win in the Jack Simpson Gym.
Led by Eric Loeppky’s 22-kill performance, the Spartans out-scored the Dinos by a nearly 8-to-5 margin, with 63 team kills against the Dinos’ 44 as the visitors improved to 19-1 on the season. The Dinos drop their sixth match in a row, falling to 10-10 on the year.
The Spartans’ Achilles heel was their serving performance through the first two sets, which kept the Dinos within arm’s length and ultimately resulted in Calgary’s 25-18 win in the second set. In total, TWU put 17 serves into the net on the night against just three service errors by the Dinos in the match.
The Dinos were firing on all cylinders in that second set as well, hitting nearly 48 per cent as a team as they bounced back from a tight 25-22 first set loss to take the second 25-18. The third was neck-and-neck throughout, with the Dinos leading at 17-16 – but a 6-1 run by the Spartans at that point made it 22-18 and they were able to edge the hometown team for the 25-23 win.
The fourth set was all Trinity Western as they jumped out to leads of 6-1, 9-2, and 13-3 as Calgary had no answer for the back row attack. Middle Pearson Eshenko got into the action in a big way during the fourth set for TWU posting several of his seven kills on the night, and they cruised to a 25-9 win.
Loeppky was a major factor for the Spartans once again, hitting 43.6 per cent to rack up his 22 kills. Freshman Jesse Elser added 16 kills in an efficient performance, while Jacob Kern also cracked double digits with his 12-kill evening.
On the Calgary side, it was Alex Bader taking the lead with a 15-kill performance, while Regan Fathers added a match-high 10 digs to his dozen kills on the night. Calgary committed 19 attack errors as a team, nine of which came as a result of a lock-down effort at the net by the Spartans blockers. In total, TWU held a 9.5-3 edge in blocks.
Trinity Western faces archrival UBC in a home-and-home series next weekend in a battle that could very well decide first place in Canada West. Calgary, on the other hand, will host the MacEwan Griffins for a pair of matinees next week, with first serve set for 12:30 p.m. Friday followed by a 1:30 p.m. start on Saturday afternoon.
With today’s win TWU extends their winning streak to 15 matches. Their last loss was 3-2 in Brandon on Friday, November 10. The previous record was 14 matches, which TWU set in the 2011-12 season. The Spartans finished that season 19-1 and went on to win the Canada West and CIS championship.
The Spartans will now head home for a home-and-home series with the UBC Thunderbirds. TWU and UBC will play at the Langley Events Centre on Friday, February 15 and then at UBC on Saturday, February 16.