Tyler Crayston, Brandon University Athletics
BRANDON, Man. – A showdown of epic proportions went in favour of the host Bobcats on Friday night.
The No. 2 nationally ranked Brandon University men's volleyball team swept the No. 1 ranked Trinity Western Spartans to start the second-half of the Canada West season at the Healthy Living Centre.
The set scores were 25-20, 27-25 and 25-23.
"This is our biggest win of the season no doubt. They are definitely the best team that we have played and it could not have worked out much better for us," said fifth-year Brandon middle James Weir.
Brandon had a sparkling .480 hitting percentage in the opening set. A 6-2 Bobcats' run gave the home side a 19-15 advantage late in the first. BU capped off the first with three straight points to stand tall after the opener.
The two teams played side-out volleyball until the Bobcats had a quick momentum surge to lead 17-13, but the Spartans rallied to make it 18-18. Brandon had a comfortable 23-20 cushion, until Trinity Western made it all square at 23-23.
The middle frame got intense down the stretch. Brandon led 24-23, but Trinity Western won back-to-back points to gain the advantage. BU fought off set point and secured the next two points to win it in overtime.
Brandon kept the momentum going in the third as they built up leads of 16-11 and 20-14. Trinity Western would trim the deficit late at 22-19. The Bobcats' lead was 24-21, before the Spartans staved off two potential match points, but that is as close as they would get.
Elliott Viles led the Bobcats with 12 kills as BU improved to 11-and-2. Seth Friesen was next with seven kills, while Reece Dixon added 28 assists for Brandon.
Meanwhile, Eric Loeppky scored 12 kills and Jacob Kern had 11 kills for the Spartans as Trinity Western slipped to 9-and-2 with the loss.
The rematch goes Saturday night at the HLC.
(Photo courtesy: Milana Paddock)