Brad Gunter and the TRU WolfPack must win their last two regular season games this weekend in Saskatoon to qualify for Canada West post-season play.

Must-win weekend for Brad Gunter and TRU WolfPack

Men's volleyball team must win final two league matches to qualify for playoffs

Kamloops—With their playoff fate solely in their hands, the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s volleyball team head to Saskatoon this weekend for their final two matches of the 2014-15 Canada West regular season.

Although it sounds daunting, the WolfPack have been in this situation since the beginning of the calendar year. TRU has a .500 record of 11-11 – the same as Mount Royal and UBC. Their opponents this weekend, the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, are 12-10 but have lost their last two outings.  TRU is unbeaten in their last six and are the second hottest team in Canada West behind Trinity Western (winners of 11).

“We win both in Saskatoon and Mount Royal loses one (in Alberta) and we make the playoffs,” says WolfPack head coach Pat Hennelly. “If we split, we are out and if we lose both we are out.”

Thompson Rivers finds itself in this situation after suffering a number of key injuries in the first half of the season.  One of those was to CIS Player of the Year Brad Gunter (fourth year, outside hitter, Courtenay). Gunter has returned with a vengeance and enters the final weekend of the season leading the Canada West in kills per set (4.56). He is third in service aces per set (0.40).

Hennelly says this weekend’s matchup has two evenly matched teams going head to head.  “I think it is very similar to last year when we met in the playoffs (referring to TRU’s 2-1 quarter-final win).  It came down to two points in the third match. We had the must-win at home last year and Saskatchewan has the must-win at home this year. The difference is that Saskatchewan has to win one while we have to win both. The league is very tight this year, except for the bottom three teams, and this weekend will be no different.”

Hennelly has his crew rolling with Gunter and Casey Knight (fifth year, outside hitter, Salt Spring Island) leading on offence. Was having the bye last week a blessing or a curse?  “I think it was good for both the mental and physical well-being of our team,” the coach states. “We have been going into every weekend knowing it is do or die, so a weekend off to relax came at a good time. We had some rest and a week to work on our team without worrying about preparing.”

“I think this weekend will come down to serve and pass,” Hennelly forecasted. “Both teams are pretty balanced offensively and defensively. Both teams have a player who can put up big numbers. We knew looking at our schedule that Saskatchewan would be the toughest test of the second semester.  Now we know that this weekend is a fight for a playoff spot for both teams.”

Hennelly says the Saskatchewan gym is a tough place to win.  “We swept them here last year in regular season with a close first night (20-18 in fifth set). They are hosting the CIS championship this year and I expect a big, loud crowd.”

Should the WolfPack make it to the post season, they would play on the road in a best-of-three quarter-final Feb. 13-15.

– Thompson Rivers University WolfPack


Just Posted

VIDEO: Humpback whale plays with a log near Comox Harbour

On Dec. 2, Lifeforce Ocean Friends found a four-year-old humpback named “Lorax”… Continue reading

Seasonal favourite comes to the Sid Williams Theatre

Many of us can remember a favourite Christmas gift - what is… Continue reading

Unity Comox Valley hosts serenity service in Comox Thursday

Do you have mixed feelings about the holidays? Unity offers a special… Continue reading

UPDATE: RCMP involved in crash south of Courtenay Saturday night

An RCMP member was involved in a three-vehicle collision on Highway 19… Continue reading

Mental health advocate’s journey with dissociative identity disorder sparks conversation

Coast Mental Health Courage to Come Back Awards nomination deadline Jan. 31

Lawyer for Chinese exec detained by Canada says it’s ‘inconceivable’ she would flee

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

Federal government plans examination of coerced sterilization

The Liberals have been pressed for a rapid response to recent reports on the sterilizations

Huitema, Cornelius named 2018 Canadian Youth International Players of the Year

Huitema was captain of Canada’s fourth-place team at this year’s FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup

VIP packages available for 2019 Boys & Girls Club golf tourney

Ideal Christmas gift for the golfer on your list

Canada not slowing emissions from oil and gas: environmental groups

New report released at the United Nations climate talks in Poland

Liberal Party moves Trudeau fundraiser from military base

The fundraiser is scheduled for Dec. 19, with tickets costing up to $400

Pipeline protesters arrested at B.C. university

Three protesters were arrested after TRU property allegedly vandalized with red paint

Goodale to ‘examine’ transfer of Rafferty to medium-security prison

Michael Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 in the kidnapping, sexual assault and first-degree murder of Tori Stafford

‘Abhorrent’ condition of autistic B.C. boy shows flaws in care system: report

‘Charlie’ was underweight and ‘covered in feces’ when he was removed from his mom’s care

Most Read