Wolfpack Weekend Previews for Basketball and Volleyball

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Larry Read

(ISN) – Kamloops, BC—For the first time in their history, the Thompson Rivers University will be going to Edmonton to play the MacEwan Griffins in Canada West women’s basketball play. The teams do battle Friday and Saturday (Nov 14-15)

The WolfPack swept the UNBC Timberwolves in the first weekend of the regular season while MacEwan took down Mount Royal twice. Thompson Rivers head coach Scott Reeves says there is no resting on their laurels. “Every week at this level brings new challenges. You can’t base your season or your life on what was or was not accomplished in the last week. We have to be focused on MacEwan and what we need to do in order to play our best this week.”

Reeves has a lot of respect for the first year Griffins. “They are a veteran group and are very well coached. They will play tough defense and make us work on every possession. Statistically: Michelle Bos (1st year, guard, Surrey, BC) leads the Canada West in rebounds per game (15) while Taiysa Worsfold (4th year, guard, Kamloops,BC) is fourth (averaging 11 boards).

The WolfPack coach has commended his team on their basketball IQ in their improvement since the start of workouts in September. “It has progressively been improving. We didn’t shoot the ball very well from the three last week but were able to find ways to score.” Thompson Rivers had 56 rebounds in their first game and 49 in their second and hope to continue that strong play this weekend. “We emphasize rebounding a lot in practice,” the coach said. “Maybe that is why we see that come out in the games.”

Both of this weekend’s contests will be shown on Canada West television. The WolfPack return home after to entertain the University of Fraser Valley Cascades for two games (Nov 21-22) at the Tournament Capital Centre.

 

—The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s basketball team kicks off the 2015 portion of their Canada West with a home weekend. The WolfPack will entertain their closest geographical rivals: the University of British Columbia Okanagan Heat for a pair of games on Friday and Saturday (Jan 9-10) at the Tournament Capital Centre. Tip off on Friday is 8 pm with Saturday’s game set for 7 pm.

Thompson Rivers enters the calendar year with a .500 record (4-4) while UBCO is sitting with a record of WolfPack head coach Scott Clark is happy to get back into a regular routine. “ We did play four games during the holiday break (against NAIA and NCAA Division II opponents). I was happy with how we played. We got a little bit better. But now it’s back to league play. I think it is welcomed by everybody to get back into a routine of class, practice and playing on Friday and Saturday. “ Clark isn’t taking UBCO lightly. “ They played everybody really tough. Their record doesn’t indicate the quality of the team they are. We can’t take them lightly. We will have to play well.”

Thompson Rivers has had an ‘all star’ type season out of Josh Wolfram (fourth year, forward, Kamloops, BC).l He is second in the Canada West in points per game (20.4) and leads in rebounds per game (11.9). The WolfPack will be relying upon him and their three fifth year players—Tallon Milne (Vanderhoof, BC), Brett Rouault (Vernon, BC) and Brett Parker (Langley, BC) to provide performances which will translate into a playoff spot.

“When you are talking about fifth year guys they have seen it all and are quality players,” said Clark. “From that perspective, they would feel quite confident going into every weekend from the standpoint that they will see something that they haven’t seen before. That is the luxury when you have some older guys on your basketball team. Through their physical preparation, their skill development and their mental preparation, they have developed in all those categories to a point where the game doesn’t overwhelm them. That is what you get with fifth year guys. It is to be expected from those types of

As a team, the WolfPack enter the weekend third in the Canada West in free throw percentage (77.2 per game), fourth in field goal attempts (70.8) and fifth in defensive rebounding (28). Both games will be webcast on CanadaWest. TV.

FOUL SHOTS: There will be a special event in conjunction with the Heat/WolfPack game on Friday. It is KidSport Night – proceeds from this night will go towards the Kamloops KidSport Program to support Kamloops youth participation in sports.  There will be popcorn and a 50/50 raffle put on by the KidSport board of directors. If you are a KidSport participant, WolfPack McDonalds Sport Camp Participant or a member of the Boys and Girls Club of Kamloops family admission to the games is free with a donation to KidSport. This is a national program with KidSport and Universities.

The TRU gym is also hosting a wheel chair basketball tournament on January 10 th and 11 th. It is being staged by the Kamloops Adaptive Sports Association. On the Saturday (Jan 10), the Kamloops chapter of the BC Wheelchair Sports Association is hosting “Have a Go Day” where the public can have a chance to try the sport. It will go noon-2 pm at the TRU Gym. For more information, contact Tristan Smyth at Interior@bcwheelchairsports.com.

 

—After a very successful first half of the Canada West season, the Thompson RiversUniversity WolfPack women’s volleyball team will try and continue it on as they open the 2015 component of the campaign this weekend (Jan 9-10) in Edmonton, Alberta against the MacEwan University Griffins.

The WolfPack have a 7-9 record and are tied for seventh place in the Canada West. MacEwan is 5-9. As first year head coach Chad Grimm looks towards securing the schools second ever playoff spot, he says: “In comparison to the first half of the season, the second half will be a sprint with only eight matches. We will have to continue to improve our ability to focus and compete for every point in order to be successful.” The ‘Pack tuned up for the second half by inviting the Capilano University Blues (PACWEST-CCAA) to Kamloops for a pair of exhibition matches last weekend (Jan 2-3). Grimm said it was beneficial. “

Capilano is a very strong team in the BC College league and have improved a lot since we saw them early in the year. Cal (Wohlford, former TRU women’s head coach who now directs Capilano) has done a great job of pushing his team to improve since September. The training and exhibition sessions with them helped us work on our transition and out of system game and I think both teams got some good things out of the weekend.” One of the main strengths of the WolfPack in the first half was the roster’s ability to transition to new positions in the face of injuries. At one point, all three of the team’s middles were on the side lines injured. As the curtain goes up on the 2015 portion of the campaign, that mind set will also be foremost on TRU’s minds.

“We are still waiting on a few girls to return from injury with Krista (Hogewoning, fourth year, outside hitter, Delta, BC), Kaitlin (Lomas, second year, middle, Ponoka, AB) and Iuliia (Pakhomenko, third year, outside hitter, Donetsk, Ukraine) working their way back,’ says Grimm . “ We aren’t sure if we will have any of them back for the opening weekend but obviously we are hopeful our injuries heal sooner than later. I expect the girls to once again be ready to take on whatever role necessary in order to help the team as they have done so well all season.”

Pakhomenko leads the country in kills (284) and is second in the CIS with kills per set (4.81). She is third in the Canada West in hitting percentage (.285). Teammate Kara Twomey (third year, setter, Winnipeg, MB) is third in the Canada West in assists per set Although they are near the bottom of the Canada West, the WolfPack aren’t taking the Griffins for granted. “MacEwan is a scrappy team that has had some good results through the first half of the season,” Grimm states. “They have a good defensive side of the ball as well so I expect a tough weekend in Edmonton.” 

After the weekend, The WolfPack return home and will host the UBCO Heat for a match January 17 th at the Tournament Capital Centre.

 

—Hot on the heels of winning their own International tournament, the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s volleyball team now turn their attention on Canada West play. The WolfPack (5-11) will pay a visit to Edmonton, Alberta and the newest team in the league: the MacEwan University Griffins (0-14). The teams will kick off the 2015 portion of Canada West play on Friday and Saturday (Jan 9-10).

“We had a great weekend in terms of execution,’ said WolfPack head coach Pat Hennelly about their 3-1 record in the tourney which included a straight set win over Trinity Western University in the championship finale. “We got stronger as the weekend went on. We had good matches against UBCO and Trinity. Budo (Japan) gave us a different look. They do a lot of things with tips and rolls and hits off the block which we had been working on in practice and in December. I thought overall the tournament accomplished a lot of things. We got a lot of playing time in for the guys, we got different looks in our line-up. It is what you need at this time of year: fine tune things and give everyone a last look at competition going into the stretch run here.”

Approaching this weekend, Hennelly says this of the matchup: “It is funny. They are the only team that I don’t know at all. We do new video on everyone before a weekend. But when you see the same teams over four or five years you get a feel for how they play. I am sure it is the same way for our opponents. For us, this is a whole new weekend. We see they are a ‘scrappy’ team. We see they will be looking for their first CIS win. We want to focus on our side of the court the next four weekends. MacEwan is certainly out of the playoffs. UBCO (whom the WolfPack play the following weekend) is on the verge of that. We are looking at two non-playoff teams. If we don’t want to consider us to be among them we have to consider these essential wins. We have to consider MacEwan a cross between UBCO and Budo.

They have some pretty good players who are slowly get experience at the CIS level” Hennelly and company are fully aware that they will be in a ‘near must win situation’ for their remaining matches in order to have a chance of making the post season. The WolfPack, like most of the other teams in Canada West will be shortening their bench over the coming weeks as playoff spots will be determined. “ I think everyone has their top nine players and then some subs that come in and do specialty roles. We had Denham O’Reilly (first year, setter, Langley, BC) came in and hit some big serves in the final. Blake (Majcher, fifth year, libero, Brandon, MB) shored up the back row a few times. We have our guys. I think our top nine or top 12 are ready to go. We just need to stay healthy and be strong. We will continue to work out but will watch how we expend our energy.”

The ‘Pack will also look at their four fifth year players—Majcher, Stuart Richey (outside hitter, Gibson’s, BC), Casey Knight (outside hitter, Salt Spring Island, BC), and Matt Krueger (libero, Abbotsford, BC) to provide leadership along with CIS player of the Year Brad Gunter (fourth year, outside hitter, Courtenay, “Stuart Richey was in the starting lineup against UBCO and Trinity,’ said Hennelly. “He certainly came out and made some big pushes during the game. He showed some stuff at the service line and from a defensive aspect. We want to give our fifth year players a chance to get themselves into the playoffs in their final year. We will rely upon on them heavily. We have been in these types of situations the past few years. Matt has been in the playoffs twice and out of it twice. I think he wants to end on a high note as do Casey and Stu. They have been true five year guys in the program. They have lots of experience in these situations. We are relying on them to come up with intensity and leadership. It will be crucial in ‘must win situations’.”

The WolfPack will return home after the weekend but then travel to Kelowna, BC Thursday (Jan 15) to face UBCO. The teams will return to the Tournament Capital Centre on Saturday (Jan 17). Match time will be 6:45 pm. All matches will be webcast on CanadaWest.TV.

SIDE OUTS: The WolfPack will be honoring Richey and Krueger as fifth year players on January 17 th. The ‘Pack has announced a contest in conjunction with CKRV Radio (97.5 FM) and CJKC Radio (Country 103). The “Back the Pack and Pack Your Bags” contest! Sponsored by Marlin Travel, Sun Peaks Resort, Country 103 and 97.5 The River. Students living in TRU Rez and McGill can get their weekly tickets from the front desk and enter them at every Friday Night’s Game, Community members can obtain tickets by listening to Country 103 or The River. All tickets entered will go into the grand prize draw for a Sun Peaks Weekend for 2, a $600.00 Marlin Travel Voucher and a possible chance to win some cold hard cash! You must be present at this game to win the grand prizes!. The draw will occur at the final TRU basketball game of the season on Friday February 6 th.

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