KAMLOOPS — The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s volleyball team got a huge emotional lift on Saturday night (Jan. 16) when they snapped a three-game Canada West losing streak by downing the visiting University of Saskatchewan Huskies 3-2.
The scores on the Warner Rentals Court at the Tournament Capital Centre were 25-19, 18-25, 26-28, 25-21, 15-11. TRU’s regular season record is now 5-11 while Saskatchewan falls back to .500 at 8-8.
“The first set was like last night and the second was similar to last night,” stated WolfPack head coach Pat Hennelly referring to his team’s 3-1 defeat at the hands of the Huskies on Friday (Jan. 15). “We got into a bit of a lull. I told the guys that we know we don’t operate like that. We need someone to fire things up.
“Jordan Foot (3rd year, middle, Prince George) was a little bit like that guy today. We had a big rebound night from Brad Gunter (5th year outside hitter, Courtenay). Graham Stoliker (5th year, setter, Surrey) distributed the ball well today and got everybody involved in the offence including the young middle guys. It feels good. We know we can play good volleyball. It feels good to do it finally.”
Gunter led the way offensively for TRU with 25 kills in 42 chances with two service aces, 11 digs and three block assists. Stoliker had 56 assists, six digs and four block assists. Foot had three kills, a dig and a block assist in two sets.
With their playoff hopes flickering, Hennelly elected to utilize a lot of his younger players. Joshua Mullaney (1st year, outside hitter, Calgary) came up with some big blocks off the bench. Sam Taylor Parks (1st year, middle, Kelowna) was named the “McDonalds/TRU Bookstore Leader of the Pack” player of the match. He had six kills in 14 swings with a service ace and nine block assists.
Hennelly says the victory was huge mentally for his squad going into a road trip to Regina this weekend (Jan. 22-23). “ It is hard. Anyone who has played a sport knows that when you continually lose it wears on you. This is great for the guys. Stoliker and Brad were a part of it. That is what you want to see…enjoying the game.”
The WolfPack are back at the Tournament Capital Centre on Jan. 29 when they entertain the University of Manitoba Bisons.