(ISN) – Kamloops, BC—Fans of the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s volleyball team will finally get a chance to see them at home. The WolfPack have their 2014-15 Canada West home opener this weekend (Oct 24-25).
After spending the first two weeks of the regular season on the road, Pat Hennelly and his team will be hosting the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds at the Tournament Capital Centre. Game time Friday will be 7:45 pm.
“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.”
The Thunderbirds have a 3 and 1 record going into the weekend. Thompson Rivers sits at 0 and 4. Their record is very misleading. They have played three of those matches without CIS Player of the Year and National “B” team member Brad Gunter (4th year, outside hitter, Courtenay, BC) and Casey Knight (5th year, outside hitter, Salt Spring Island, BC). Both have been injured.
“Casey is back on the court practicing,” 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.”
Hennelly points to Randy Grundmann (2nd year, outside hitter, Winnipeg, MB) and Douglas Groenendijk (1st year, middle, Westhome, BC) as examples. “Randy has certainly stepped up and provided defence while Douglas really came into his own on Saturday.”
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. I know they will be tough and we will have our hands full with Milan Nikic (4th year, setter, Calgary, AB) running the offense with players like Ben Chow (4th year, outside hitter, Surrey, BC) , Alex Russell (4th year, middle, Surrey,BC) and Chris Howe (5th year, Salt Spring Island, BC) .”
Chow is tied for second in the Canada West in digs (40) and fourth in hitting percentage (.356). Nikic is third in assists per set (9.87).
The match will be webcast live on http://canadawest.tv.
SIDE OUTS: The WolfPack are hosting their annual “Senior Howler” tournament on Friday and Saturday with 22 senior boys teams from throughout BC taking part. Says Hennelly: “. We have the top ranked AAA teams KSS and Earl marriot and a host of other top ten teams from around the Province, Vancouver Island (Oak Bay, Woodlands and GP Vanier) Prince George(DP Todd) and the Kootenay’s(Mt Sentinel) all represented. It is a chance for me to see some recruits and recruits to see what a game looks like at TRU.”