LANGLEY, B.C. – The UBC Okanagan Heat challenged the No. 1 Spartans in the third set as they searched for a late-game comeback, but ultimately fell in straight sets on Saturday night at the Langley Events Centre.
Mathias Elser's ace midway through the second set broke the Spartans record, as TWU (15-1) ultimately recorded 17 aces to shatter their previous program-high mark of 13. The mark was also second most in a Spartans game of any length, trailing only the 19 aces recorded in a five-set win against Winnipeg (Jan. 24, 2004).
The Spartans have now achieved 13 aces or more in a 3-set match five separate times, with their most recent coming earlier this season against MacEwan (Nov. 1, 2019). It was TWU's (15-1) 14thconsecutive victory on the season.
Derek Epp recorded a team-high five aces for TWU, which all came in the opening set. The scoring was spread throughout the Spartans lineup, as Eric Loeppky, Pearson Eshenko, Jackson Howe, Jesse Elser and Henry Rempel all recorded five or more kills.
The No. 1 ranked Spartans took complete control in the first set, nabbing the first point and leading the entirety of the way to take the first 25-11. TWU was led by Epp's five service aces in the set, with Loeppky adding five kills. Max Heppell contributed three kills for the visitors, as UBC Okanagan hit .111 (5-3-18) compared to TWU's .550 (12-1-20).
TWU kept rolling in the second set, picking up another eight service aces as a team and winning the second by an identical (25-11) score. Mathias Elser picked up 10 assists after taking over for Epp as the Spartans second set setter, while Campbell contributed two kills and two digs for the Heat.
The third set was a different story however, as the Heat fought their way to a relatively even score throughout. There were 11 tied scores throughout the frame, before the Spartans pulled away for the (25-20) set win.
TWU will next play against UBC to take on the Thunderbirds next Friday and Saturday at the War Memorial Gym. The Heat will head out to Kamloops to face Thompson Rivers Friday night at 5 p.m. PST and Saturday at 7 p.m. PST.
All action can be watched live on Canada West tv presented by Co-op
~Seyara Campbell, Heat Sports Information, with notes from Spartans Athletics