SPARTANS FLIP THE SCRIPT, USE HOME CROWD'S ENERGY TO MAKE NATIONAL FINAL

Rudy Verhoeff

SPARTANS FLIP THE SCRIPT, USE HOME CROWD'S ENERGY TO MAKE NATIONAL FINAL
By Howard Tsmura - Vancouver Province - LINK to Story

KINGSTON, Ontario — Last season, as the host team for the CIS men's volleyball championships, Langley's Trinity Western Spartans parlayed their fine play and the emotion of the home crowd into a shot at a Canadian title.

On Saturday, with the nation's No. 1 ranking and the biggest of targets on its back, the Spartans didn't let life on the other side of the net slow their climb, topping host and No. 10 Queen's 3-0 (25-20, 25-13, 25-14) in the second of two semifinals at the national tournament in Kingston, a victory that sends Trinity into today's national final (1 p.m.) against the No. 3 Laval after the Rouge et Or defeated No. 2 Manitoba 3-1.

"We were trying to anticipate what it was going to be like," TWU head coach said Ben Josephson of playing the role of enemy. "We just said 'Remember last year? Well, just flip the script.' They had a great crowd and those first eight or nine points were tough because they were so engaged and the place was so loud."

And then there was the play of the Spartans. Both left side players - Marc Howatson and Steven Marshall - enjoyed error-free evenings, with Marshall supplying a matchhigh 14 kills. And Dan Jansen Van Doorn turned in a superb blocking effort. And all of that comes on the heels of great performances in TWU's 3-0 opener Friday against Dalhousie, where Ben Ball, Rudy Verhoeff and Lucas Van Berkel had stellar outings. "We've had three superstar-type performances each night, and that is exciting," said Josephson. "Now we get to see who steps up tomorrow."

Today's match should cement the rivalry between TWU and Laval. The last time two faced each other was two seasons ago. Laval was ranked No. 1 in the CIS, but lost an epic national semifinal battle to the Spartans, who then went on to fall to Calgary in the national final.

Last Updated: 2012-03-07
Author: Mark Janzen