Langley’s Brodie Hofer contributed to a career milestone for Trinity Western men’s volleyball coach Ben Josephson, helping his team beat the Manitoba Bisons in straight sets on Friday night (Nov. 15) to give Josephson his 200th victory.
Number-one-ranked Trinity Western Spartans (7-1) dominated play at the Investors Group Athletic Centre in Winnipeg, beating the Manitoba Bisons (3-3) in straight sets (25-16, 25-20, 25-18).
Second-year Jesse Elser led the visitors with eight kills on 15 attempts (.200), while third-year Jackson Howe had his second straight ultra-efficient performance — recording five kills at a .833 hitting percentage, which came after a 10-kill, .714 match on Friday.
In the first set, TWU scored seven of the first eight points.
Two of those points came on blocks, as Howe and Hofer made strong plays at the net. Though Manitoba would trade points with them through the rest of the set, they weren’t able to get a run of their own going — eventually yielding the set, 25-16.
The two teams traded four-point runs early in the second set, as Koskie recorded two aces for the home team. Down 21-14 late, Manitoba climbed back into the set thanks to a block and two excellent setups from setter Dylan Sutherland. A 5-1 run by the Bisons cut the Spartans lead to three (22-19), but two kills from Elser helped secured the set for the Spartans, 25-20.
TWU found a similar run midway through the third to build a 17-10 lead — this one including two kills from Hofer. They went on to finish the match with a 25-18 win.
Josephson said the blocking helped overcome “a rough serving night” for the Spartans.
“I thought our blockers responded to the challenge when we weren’t getting a lot of results from our serve,” he observed.
A highlight for Josephson was getting to compete against Bisons coach Garth Pischke.
“He’s retiring at the end of the season as winningest coach in Canadian history. He’s arguably the greatest player in Canadian history and he’s one of the guys I looked up to as both a player and a coach. The fact that I got to share a match with him in his last season on his home court was special.”
The victory marked Josephson’s 200th career regular season win. Josephson has an all-time regular season record of 200-62 (.763 winning percentage).
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Over his career with TWU, Josephson has twice been named both the Canada West Coach of the Year and U SPORTS Coach of the Year, in 2011-12 and 2013-14.
All told, Josephson has led TWU to eight U SPORTS medals and guided TWU to a total of 10 Canada West medals.
Along with his coaching duties at TWU, Josephson is also an assistant coach with Canada’s senior women’s national side, taking the post prior to the start of the team’s 2019 season. With Josephson on the sidelines, Canada qualified for the 2020 Volleyball Nations League and the team will look to qualify for the 2020 Olympics this January.
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Before moving to the sidelines, Josephson was a stand-out player for the Spartans from 1998 to 2003 and, in his final year, earned the school’s first ever All-Canadian award while, in that same year, also being named a Canada West First Team All-Star.
The Spartans will return home next weekend to face the Saskatchewan Huskies Nov. 22-23 at the Langley Events Centre.