The Canadian team from Trinity Western participated in the first ever FISU America Games in Brazil this past week, bringing home third place. (Special to the Langley Advance)

Langley volleyball players help cinch bronze in Brazil

The Canadian team, which was the Trinity Western University Spartans, walked away with third place.

Trinity Western University’s men’s volleyball team, representing Canada, earned a bronze medal at the inaugural FISU America Games Thursday.

The Langley-based Spartans team beating Mexico in a “thrilling” five-setter 21-25, 30-28, 19-25, 25-16, 15-13 in Brazil, said Spartans coach Ben Josephson.

Trailing 13-11 in the fifth set, the Spartans responded with a match-clinching 4-0 run that was sealed with back-to-back aces from legendary TWU setter Adam Schriemer (Winnipeg), who was the U SPORTS Player of the Year in 2017-18.

RECENT STORY: Langley’s Spartans take on Brazil in America Games semifinals

“The legacy of Schriemer continues,” Josephson said.

The likes of Ben Lieuwen (Abbotsford) and Jacob Kern (Edmonton) led the team from the outside, while setter Derek Epp (Saskatoon) was instrumental in guiding the offence during much of Thursday’s match, as he was throughout the tournament.

Due to injuries, Schriemer was largely playing middle during the tournament.

“It was an unbelievable match from Ben Lieuwen,” Josephson said.

“That was the best he played throughout the whole tournament. Then Jacob Kern was amazing again as he carried us all tournament long. And then Schriemer played middle until the second part of the game and then we went 6-2 at the end. Schriemer had kills left, middle and right and had blocks left, middle and right in the tournament. It was really neat.”

The Spartans opened the tournament with a 3-0 win over Colombia before losing in three sets to Argentina. A three-set loss to Brazil in the semifinals put the Spartans up against Mexico for third place.

The Canadian team included three Langley players: Brodie Hofer, Jordan Schnitzer, and Mike Grypma.

The FISU America Games is a Pan American branch of the FISU World University Games.

This is the third time TWU has donned the maple leaf on an international stage. In 2012, the Spartans represented Canada at the U23 Pan American Cup, finishing fourth. In 2011, the team participated in the FIVB Club World Championship as Canada’s representative, finishing with one win from three matches, including a victory over Iranian professional side Paykan Tehran.

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