The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack have recorded a couple of firsts.
The WolfPack men’s volleyball team has risen to the fourth spot in this week’s CIS top 10 rankings. It is the highest ranking for any Thompson Rivers team since the Kamloops university entered CIS nine years ago.
The WolfPack were seventh in the ratings last week but thanks to a sweep over the Brandon University Bobcats at the Tournament Capital Centre on the weekend (Jan. 10-11) they have moved up behind the first-place teams McMaster of the OUA and the Trinity Western Spartans. Alberta Golden Bears have moved into the third spot.
“I think the rankings are good,” stated WolfPack head coach Pat Hennelly. “We have come out of nowhere this year in terms of people’s perceptions. We always believed we were a good team last year and had the inability to put things together.”
The other first for the WolfPack is a result of last weekend’s performance by the men’s volleyball team.
Third-year outside hitter Brad Gunter of Courtenay has been named the Canada West First Star of the Week. He is the first TRU athlete to be named a first star.
Gunter is the CIS’ and Canada West’s leading scorer. He was the difference this past weekend with 58 kills in 107 chances with four service aces, 24 digs, one solo block and five block assists.
“Gunter had an unbelievable weekend, “ said Hennelly. “It is not the points he put down as so much as the efficiency. He is getting a high volume of shots and not making a lot of mistakes. He is hitting .339 and getting two more points per set than his nearest rival (Nicolas Del Bianco of Trinity Western).
“He is having a great year and was unstoppable last weekend. It is the best weekend anyone has put together in our program for sure – the volume, the efficiency and the importance – as we were playing a team rated higher than us.”
Gunter was recognized as a male second star earlier this season.
The WolfPack men’s volleyball team has been sixth in the top 10 rankings seven times before: earlier this season (Dec. 3, 2013), three times in 2009-10 (Jan. 26, Feb. 2, and Feb. 9) and three times in 2008-09 (Jan. 20, Jan. 27,Feb. 3).
The WolfPack men’s volleyball team is on the road this week as they visit the Wesmen in Winnipeg on Friday and Saturday (Jan. 17-18). They return home to face Trinity Western at the Tournament Capital Centre on Jan. 24-25.
– TRU WolfPack