KAMLOOPS – The preseason is over for the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s volleyball team. The WolfPack finished their own four-team exhibition tournament coming second and fourth.
In the gold medal match on Oct. 9 at the TRU gym, Pat Hennelly’s crew were defeated 3-1 by the Trinity Western University Spartans. The scores were 25-21, 25-23, 18-25, 25-23.
In the bronze medal match, The University of British Columbia Okanagan Heat took the ‘Pack’ (who were mostly first and second year TRU players) 3-0. The scores were 25-29, 25-23, 25-18.
“The gold medal match was great,” said Hennelly. “In the fourth set we got a little ragged there. There were a couple of plays that didn’t go our way. Some uncharacteristic errors.
“Brandon Hewwing, (5th year, left side, Calgary, Alta.) came out and played great. We fought it a little bit at the end but it was great volleyball. We are still a little in doubt when the score reaches the upper 20s. We have to work on it and be a little tighter. I liked the effort and intensity.”
Hewwing had a team high 15 kills in 30 chances with five digs, and three block assists for TRU.
Hennelly also praised the play of first year middle Sam Taylor Parks (Kelowna, B.C.). “I thought Sam did a terrific job coming off the bench.” Parks finished with five kills in seven swings with two service aces, one dig and two block assists.
Graham Stoliker (5th year, setter, Surrey, B.C.) had 32 assists, three service aces, five digs and one block assist.
Brad Gunter (5th year, outside hitter, Courtenay, B.C.) had 12 kills in 29 chances with three digs.
“It always seems to be the same game when you play any version of the WolfPack,” said Trinity head coach Ben Josephson. “They scrap, dig, hit the ball hard, they are quick and have good skill. Same thing tonight. The way they dialed up their defensive intensity in the third set made it really hard for us.
“Midway through the second set is where it started. It was great for us. Playing a player like Brad is awesome because he shows us how vulnerable we are on our block system. If you aren’t perfectly solid on him—and even when you are—you can’t stop it.
“We got some good looking blocks at the end which we hadn’t established before. One of the things we wanted to focus on was our blocking system. It started to come in the fourth set. We showed some glimpses that the lights are coming on.”
Both teams now gear up for the Canada West regular season which begins Friday, Oct 16. TRU will visit the University of Alberta while Trinity Western will visit Brandon.