With an eye to the Canada West men’s volleyball playoffs, the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack will get a chance to experience what it will be like this weekend.
The WolfPack will be entertaining the top team in the league: three-time CIS champion Trinity Western University Spartans. The two teams will battle at the Tournament Capital Centre on Friday (Jan. 24) and Saturday (Jan. 25).
Trinity has already clinched a playoff spot, with 15 wins in their first 16 starts. The WolfPack are currently tied for second with 11 wins and 5 defeats.
“Trinity is playing some great volleyball right now,” said TRU head coach Pat Hennelly. “They are really consistent and error free. They have put together some great weekends against Alberta and UBC already. We have had our hands full with them last year and in the pre-season, and will have to limit our errors attacking and from the service line.”
The two teams met in Kamloops in October with the Spartans winning both.
The WolfPack have an 8-2 record in their last 10 matches. “We have had some great contributions from everyone over the past ten matches,” Hennelly adds. “We have been playing well at home and that is good news with a home playoff date still very much a reality. We need to continue our home play like we did against Brandon and Saskatchewan (both sweeps).”
This weekend will see the Canada West’s top two teams in hitting percentage and service aces going head to head. Trinity leads with a hitting percent of .318 and service aces of 1.53 per set. Thompson Rivers is second at .285 and 1.43.
The WolfPack continue to lead the Canada West in Assists (12.69 per set), kills (13.57 per set) and digs (11.18 per set).
“We get a chance this weekend to test ourselves against a team we know will be in the playoffs and may host the final four,” Hennelly adds.
Third-year outside hitter Brad Gunter of Courtenay continues to lead not only the Canada West but the entire CIS in points (326), points per set (6.2), kills (3.32), kills per set (5.44) and is second in the country in total attacks (6.89) and is third in the nation in service aces (24). Gunter is sixth in the Canada west in digs (2.25 per game).
The WolfPack have had a few players on the mend but Hennelly says that seems to be easing.
– TRU WolfPack