Trinity Western sweeps Dalhousie in predictable quarter-final

KINGSTON, Ont. (02/03/2012) - 2012 CIS Men's Volleyball Championship - Trinity Western Spartans vs. Dalhousie Tigers.
KINGSTON, Ont. (02/03/2012) - 2012 CIS Men's Volleyball Championship - Trinity Western Spartans vs. Dalhousie Tigers.
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The top-ranked Trinity Western Spartans only needed 70 minutes to win their opening match of the national men’s volleyball tournament on Friday night.

They dispatched the eight-seeded Dalhousie Tigers in straight sets — 25-14, 25-22, 25-17 — to set up a semifinal against the host Queen’s Gaels on Saturday night at 8 p.m.

The Spartans are defending CIS champions and this season’s Canada West gold medalists. They’ve only lost once all season — to the Manitoba Bisons on Jan. 27 — and travelled to Doha, Qatar in October to represent Canada at the Club World Championship.

Trinity Western used a three-pronged attack to beat Dalhousie on Friday night, with outside hitter Stephen Marshall and middle hitters Lucas Van Berkel and Rudy Verhoeff combining for 28 kills. Setter and CIS MVP Ben Ball added 38 assists on the night.

Although Ball is the key to the Spartans offence, he excels because he has so many attacking players to pass to, head coach Ben Josephson said.

“It’s like a kid in a candy store,” he said. “He’s just such a brilliant setter … but credit to the hitters that, whenever he missed something tonight, they didn’t turn anything into errors.”

The Spartans will be favoured against the Gaels tomorrow night, but Josephson said Queen’s will be bolstered by its home support.

“Their crowd was amazing tonight,” he said. “It’s as good as ours was [when Trinity Western hosted nationals] last year.”

While the Spartans cruised to victory in their quarter-final, the Gaels played four tough sets against the University of Alberta Golden Bears.

The Tigers will take on the Golden Bears in a consolation match tomorrow at 3 p.m.

Dalhousie coach Dan Ota said his team played too tentatively to challenge the country’s top team on Friday night.

“It’s too bad, we had no reason to feel any pressure,” he said. “We had nothing to prove, everyone was expecting us to lose that match.”

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