KAMLOOPS – It was hard to tell who was the previously unbeaten Canada West men’s volleyball team and the one with a record of 1-and-5 at the Tournament Capital Centre on Friday night (Nov. 18).
The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack took the visiting University of Manitoba Bisons to five sets. The Bisons remain undefeated wining 3-2. The scores were 25-17, 22-25, 26-24, 20-25,1 5-8. TRU fell to 1-and-6; Manitoba is 7-and-0.
TRU was led by Brad Gunter. The first year left side from Courtenay was named the “TRU Bookstore/McDonalds Leader of the Pack” for 19 kills in 47 chances with a service ace and nine digs. Chris Osborne (2nd year, outside hitter, Phoenix, AZ) had 14 kills in 39 swings and six digs against his former teammates.
“It was good volleyball,” said WolfPack head coach Pat Hennelly. “The guys played good volleyball the whole time. We battled. We had to use a bunch of different guys in the line up. If we had the same intensity it would have been a different result last weekend. But to Manitoba’s credit, they were a bit tougher in the fifth set. And they came back in the third set when I thought we had control.”
Manitoba had 14 team blocks in comparison to TRU’s 11.
The same two teams met again Saturday night (Nov. 19) at the TCC, with much the same result as Chris Voth and the Bisons downed the youthful WolfPack 3-1. The scores were 25-15, 25-18, 24-26, 25-17. The Bisons improved to 8-and-0 while TRU is now 1-7.
Hennelly said Voth (4th year, left side, Winnipeg) was the difference. “In the fourth set, he came up with a big kill. It was a good lesson for our guys. He has been in the league for four years. He has had lots of disappointments. I could see from the look in his eyes that he didn’t want to see this one slip away. I
want our guys to look down the road and think that is the type of guy I need to be”.
Voth wound up with 19 kills in 40 swings to lead the Bison. He also had one service ace, two digs and four block assists. TRU was led by Gunter for the second straight night. He had 16 kills in 35 chances with four digs and a block assist. Osborne had 13 kills in 34 opportunities with four digs and a block assist.
The WolfPack head to Winnipeg this weekend (Nov. 25-26) while the Bisons face the Alberta Golden Bears in a battle of two of the Canada West elite. The WolfPack return home to the Tournament Capital Centre on Dec. 2-3 when they host the CIS champion Trinity Western Spartans.
– TRU WolfPack