Kamloops—Fans at the Tournament Capital Centre taking in the exhibition men’s volleyball match between Thompson Rivers University and the University of Windsor got their money’s worth.
The two CIS teams played to a five set decision on Saturday night (Oct 4). The hometown fans went home happy as the WolfPack downed the Lancers 3-2. The scores were 25-21, 26-24, 19-25, 23-25, 21-19.
“I thought it was great,” said Thompson Rivers head coach Pat Hennelly. “We put what we thought was our starting lineup out there and they performed quite well. We started to take some guys off. That was pre-planned. We have had a tough training cycle and we wanted to see what everyone can do.
“We wanted to play Brad (Gunter, CIS player of the year, Courtenay) three sets and Nic (Balazs, middle, Prince George) two sets. We accomplished that goal. I have to give full credit to Windsor. They were out there digging and were intense. I thought our guys in the fourth set thought they were going to go away. It is a good lesson.”
Gunter was 10 for 23 with three digs and two block assists in his three sets of work. Randy Grundmann (2nd year, outside hitter, Winnipeg, MB) was 10 for 28.
Graham Stoliker (4th year, setter, Surrey, BC) had 45 assists.
The WolfPack had three players in double figures for kills. Brandon Hewwing (4th year, outside hitter, Calgary, AB had 12 kills in 25 swings with four digs, a service ace and four block assists.
The WolfPack now gear up for the start of the Canada West regular season on Friday, Oct. 10 in Langley against Trinity Western University. When asked if he thought the team is where he wants it to be, Hennelly stated: “I think so. Every coach in Canada West is asking themselves if we are really starting but I think we played enough extra matches.
“We played a lot of them and it was set up like that on purpose. We are a veteran squad in terms of seniority on the floor. We have been saying for the last three years that we were young. It is not the case anymore. Brad has been a starter for three years. Other guys like Casey Knight (5th year, outside hitter, Salt Spring Island), Stuart Richey (5th year, outside hitter, Gibson’s) , Stoliker is in his fourth year. The cycle is good. We’ve got guys like Jordan nipping at the feet of guys like Nic and Dan. It has paid off. I like what I see in good competition level. I think our serving is getting back to what it was before. It gives us a weapon. We need to be aggressive and creating havoc with our serves.”
The home opener for TRU is Friday, Oct. 24h at the TCC against the UBC Thunderbirds.