KAMLOOPS—It will be another tough test for the Thompson Rivers University men’s volleyball team this weekend. The WolfPack (7-11) are entertaining the University of Manitoba Bisons (13-3) in a pair of Canada West matches on Friday and Saturday (Jan. 29-30).
The WolfPack know they will have their hands full with the Bisons as TRU attempts to stay in the hunt for a playoff spot. Coach Pat Hennelly’s crew is coming off a sweep at the University of Regina last weekend (Jan. 22-23).
“We are happy with the way we played last weekend,” Hennelly states. “We haven’t swept Regina since 2011. We played nervous on Friday and then had our best offensive night on Saturday. We know Manitoba is a big challenge. They are one of the top teams in the country.”
TRU has four players appearing in the Canada West statistical leaders standings. Courtenay’s Brad Gunter (5th year outside hitter) is second in both kills (279) and kills per set (4.50). Graham Stoliker (5th year, setter, Surrey) is fourth in assists per set (9.52) while rookie middle Kyle Beheils (Edmonton) is fourth in service aces per set (0.31).
Hennelly says changing his team’s focus on how they are approaching matches seems to be paying off. “We are still trying to think one set, one night at a time. We can’t look ahead or think about the task at hand (winning all our matches) to make the playoffs.”
The Bisons have three players among the statistical leaders in Canada West. Luke Herr (4th year, setter, Winnipeg) is second in assists per set (11.00), Devren Dear (4th year, right side, St. Andrews, MB) is third in kills per set (4.26) while Adam DeJonckheere (3rd year, left side, Winnipeg) is fifth in hitting percentage (.316).
“Manitoba has some of the best players in the country,” states Hennelly. “DeJonckheere, Dear and Ken Rooney (4th year, middle, Winnipeg) and Herr are all outstanding players. They have a balanced attack and put up a big block at the net. Manitoba returned all their starters and it shows in the way they play together as a team.“
Hennelly believes the ‘Pack match up pretty well on the outside. “We will need all our players to be at their best this weekend.”
Match times are 7:45 pm on Friday and 6:45 pm on Saturday. They will be broadcast on http://Canadawest.TV. It is a pay per view.