Kamloops, BC—Pat Hennelly and Ben Josephson got a glimpse into the future of their respective Canada West men’s volleyball programs on Sunday morning (Jan 4).
The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack and Trinity Western University Spartans met in the final round robin match at the 2015 McDonalds/TRU International tournament. With both teams already guaranteed to meet in Sunday evening’s final, both coaches decided to play their bench.
The Spartans and ‘Pack went five sets before Trinity won 3-2. The scores were25-20,20-25,25-13,23-25,15-12.
Trinity finishes the round robin unbeaten while Thompson Rivers winds up with two wins and a loss.
“We got a lot of work in,” explained Josephson. ” We wanted to get them some practice against a team we don’t see every day at home. It was good and it was bad. We have a lot of things to show on tape so we can improve.”
“We had a couple of first year left side guys and a bunch of first and second year guys in expect for putting Stu Richey (fifth year, outside hitter, Gibsons BC) for a bit in the fourth,” said Hennelly. ” I am proud the way the guys came out and competed.”
The Spartans were led by Tyler Heppell (third year, outside hitter, Langley, BC) with 15 kills in 31 chances with four digs, a solo block and three block assists. Ben Lieuwen (first year, outside hitter, Abbotsford, BC) had 11 kills in 42 opportunities.
Scott Plocktis (third year, setter, Kelowna, BC) had 35 assists while Carter Bergen (first year, libero, Winnipeg, MB) had 13 assists.
Josephson credited Plockis and Riley Vander Meulen (first year, outside hitter, Edmonton, AB) . ” We were testing a lot of reception and I thought Riley did a good job attacking. Scott had a really good game as well. We had a lot of young hitters out there today and it makes it tough on a setter. I thought he did a good job.”
The WolfPack were led by Tim Edge (first year, outside hitter, Langley, BC). He had 11 kills in 32 swings with seven digs and two block assists.
Tyler Pomietlarz (first year, setter, Kelowna, BC) had 35 assists with Denham O’Reilly (first year, setter, Langley, BC) adding 17.
Isaac Smit (first year, outside hitter, Kelowna, BC) having a team high 11 digs. He was named the WolfPack player of the match.
“I liked almost everyone,” Hennelly stated. ” Charles Orduro (first year, outside hitter, Vernon, BC) had some moments. Issac provided some energy both as libero and outside hitter. Denham came in and did a good job of controlling the offense and some smart plays. Overall, I was happy with the effort. 10 am is not a regular time to play or practice. For the guys to come out and battle hard was great.”
Hennelly experimented with Randy Grundmann. The second year Winnipeg, Manitoba native is usually outside hitter but wound up playing some libero in the third set. “We wanted to keep him passing the ball. He has been struggling a bit with his shoulder. We didn’t want to over play him on the left side. He got some reps passing. Blake Majcher (fifth year, libero, Brandon, MB) came in afterwards and did a great job.”
The two teams will play in the gold medal match at 6 pm. Both coaches expect a battle.
“Tonight will be a great match,” Hennelly predicts. “We played each other earlier this season. We are going to go at each other pretty hard. I think it’s a pretty good rivalry between us. I hope we can continue our stable play.”
“A whole lot of those lefties,” Josephson smiled when asked about the title match. “It is going to be another battle. They are a good team and they are very tough in this gym. Brad and Casey (Gunter-fourth year, outside hitter, Courtenay, BC and Knight-fifth year, outside hitter, Salt Spring Island, BC) are two of the best in the league. It will be quite the challenge.”
SIDE OUTS: UBC Okanagan finished in third place in the round robin with a win and two losses. They downed Budo International of Japan 3-0 in their last match. The scores were 27-25, 25-19,25-20.
Alex Swiatlowski (third year, outside hitter, Victoria, BC) had 11 kills in 26 opportunities with three digs.
Adam Kern (first year, middle, North Vancouver, BC) contributed 10 kills in 13 chances with an assist, two digs, a solo block and three block assists.
Nick Schmidt had 37 assists for UBO while Jim Bell (third year, middle, Victoria, BC), Jeremy Fostvelt (fourth year, defensive specialist, Surrey, BC) and Tanner March (fourth year, outside hitter, Kelowna, BC) all had a team high seven digs.
The Heat had eight team blocks compared to 1.5 for Budo.
Kotaro Ono led the way for Budo with 11 kills in 30 chances while Hiromasa Sato had 10 kills in 21 swings. Konosuke Tachikawa had 31 assists and a service ace along with eight digs.
UBCO left Kamloops after the match due to weather conditions. Budo will play a split squad of Trinity Western Spartans at 3 pm.