The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s volleyball team made history on Friday night (Nov. 15). For the first time since they entered Canada West, the WolfPack downed the University of Alberta Golden Bears. Not only was it a win, but it came in three straight sets: 25-22, 25-22, 25-23.
“This was more than a team effort tonight,” said WolfPack head coach Pat Hennelly. “This was probably the second biggest victory for us ever.” Hennelly pointed to the team’s bronze medal win at the 2008 CIS championships in Laval, Que. as the biggest.
“After last weekend (two losses to UBC), we needed a push-back effort to send the statement that we are still around in the race for a playoff spot,” Hennelly added.
TRU was led by Courtenay’s Brad Gunter (3rd year, outside hitter) with 15 kills in 28 chances. He had six digs.
“This was by far a team victory all the way,” Hennelly stated. “The third set was great volleyball. Alberta came out and challenged us and to our credit, we held our ground and regained the lead.”
When you are hunting a Golden Bear, you can’t give them any advantage. That is what the WolfPack team learned Saturday (Nov. 16) in Canada West play in Edmonton.
The WolfPack had a 2-0 lead on the Golden Bears and led 24-21 in the third set, but let Alberta get back into the match. The Golden Bears won the match 3-2 at the Saville Centre. The scores were 20-25, 23-25, 26-24, 25-20, 15-12.
TRU falls to 4-4 on the season while Alberta moves to 5-3.
“It was a tough loss but I am proud of the way the guys played in the fifth set and we had a second night where we had swings to win the match,” said Hennelly.
Gunter was again the big offensive threat for TRU with 26 kills in 54 chances. He also had 15 digs.
As he looks at his team’s .500 weekend, Hennelly said, “We have a couple of tough matches coming up with Saskatchewan but I think this weekend was a real turning point. We played some great volleyball and the chemistry on the court was great.”
TRU returns home to host Saskatchewan this weekend (Nov. 22-23) at the Tournament Capital Centre in Kamloops.
– TRU WolfPack