Brad Gunter won’t see action for the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s volleyball team when they play their home opener this weekend. But he will see some familiar uniforms.
The WolfPack entertain the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds on Friday and Saturday in their first Canada West action at home (the Tournament Capital Centre in Kamloops) after playing the first two weeks of the season on the road.
The WolfPack are also hosting their annual “Senior Howler” tournament on Oct. 24-25 with 22 senior boys teams from throughout B.C. taking part. One of those teams is the G.P. Vanier Towhees, where Gunter enjoyed a stellar high school career.
The fourth-year outside hitter from Courtenay dislocated his finger early in the season, and should have time to catch up on some hometown news in between Towhee games.
Gunter is still four to six weeks away from returning to action (his finger is still in a splint), and the ‘Pack have missed their fourth-year outside hitter from Courtenay.
The Thunderbirds have a 3-1 record going into the weekend. Thompson Rivers sits at 0-4, but their record is very misleading. They have played three of those matches without CIS Player of the Year and Canadian National “B” team member Gunter as well as Casey Knight (5th year, outside hitter, Salt Spring Island), who also has been bitten by the injury bug.
“Casey is back on the court practising,” Hennelly explains. “We won’t know until later in the week if he is ready to play.”
While that could be used as an excuse for the start, Hennelly prefers not to. He looks at the evolution of his squad over the first four matches.
“This past weekend, we took a step forward as a team competing the second night. Until we have everyone back from injuries, we will have to work harder as a group on the little things: taking care of the ball, serving and defence. We have had to put pressure on other players in the organization.”
UBC is ranked fifth in the most recent CIS top 10 ratings. “They are a club which has returned a majority of its players from last year. They had the second best regular season in Canada West last season. “We will have our hands full,” Hennelly said.
SIDE OUTS The WolfPack matches will be webcast live on http://canadawest.tv … other teams in the Senior Howler tourney include top ranked AAA squads KSS and Earl Marriot and a host of other top 10 teams from around B.C.: Vancouver Island (Oak Bay, Woodlands and Vanier) Prince George (DP Todd) and the Kootenays (Mt. Sentinel) … Hennelly said the tourney is a good chance for him to see some recruits and for recruits to see what a game looks like at TRU … “I’m looking forward to the home opener,” says Hennelly. “Erin Connelly-Reed (WolfPack’s event coordinator) has set up some great promotions and we should have a solid crowd. I always look forward to the first time we play at home.” …
– with a file from TRU