DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics
The Winnipeg Wesmen are still a team trying to find itself and, against one of the conference juggernauts, that search can be a difficult one.
The Trinity Western Spartans shook off a first-set loss and rallied Saturday night to hand the Wesmen men's volleyball team a 3-1 (19-25, 25-22, 25-20, 25-17) defeat at the Duckworth Centre.
Trinity moved to 5-1 on the season, while Winnipeg dropped to 2-2.
Wesmen head coach Larry McKay said his team is still trying to find its rhythm in a season that is just four games old.
"Hopefully we're still learning. That's why we came to work today," McKay said. "We watched the tape and tried to learn from what we did last night, but I think we have a long way to go before we're as good as we can be this year."
The Spartans hit .217 for the match — and .417 in the third set — in sweeping the weekend series between the fifth- and sixth-ranked teams in the nation.
"We found our side-out rhythm a little bit before they did and that's why I think we won the last two sets," TWU head coach Ben Josephson said. "… The way this game goes it's kind of like a tug-of-war as long as it's just short little bursts, but once a team starts to really pull it takes a tremendous amount of energy to stay with it."
Eric Loeppky had 14 kills and five aces to lead the Spartans, who had a run of four straight points and seven of eight in the third set to turn a 12-12 game into a 19-13 advantage at a critical time.
Jacob Kern added 12 kills and six digs, and Carter Bergen had a match-high 16 digs.
The Wesmen hit the road for the first time this season next weekend when they head to Kamloops, B.C., for a pair of matches against the Thompson Rivers Wolfpack.