Kamloops, BC—Players on the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack and Trinity Western University Spartans men’s volleyball teams got to show exactly how they perform under pressure. The teams went to five sets to begin a two game exhibition tournament at the Tournament Capital Centre.
The Spartans prevailed over the WolfPack 3-2. The scores on Thursday (Oct 8) were 25-15, 23-25,22-25,25-23,16-14.
“You have to give Trinity credit they had a better start than us which was surprising since they had to drive here today,” said WolfPack head coach Pat Hennelly. ” I like the way our guys recovered in the second and third. I have to give Trinity credit in the fourth. There was a stretch where there was a battle for momentum. They did a better job being vocal and forcing the play. It was a good lesson for our guys. The fifth set was good volleyball. This was the second best performance we have had in the preseason after playing Alberta. Margin for error against very good teams is very slim. It was proved again here with the final set being 16-14.”
Hennelly praised Graham Stoliker (5th year, setter, Surrey, BC) for running the TRU offense. ” Dan (Eikeland Rod, 4th year, outside hitter, Oz, Norway), Gunter (Brad, 5th year, outside hitter, Courtenay, BC) and Charlie (Bringloe, 1st year, outside hitter, Waterloo, ON) all had good numbers. Doug Groenendjik (2nd year, middle, Westhome, BC) got involved as well. Overall, it was a good outing for both teams. I was happy with the entire starting lineup. It was nice to see Denham O’ Reilly (2nd year, libero, Langley, BC) out there. He didn’t have the greatest start. Maybe he was nervous. He played well through the stretch. It was a great performance for him-his best as a libero to date.”
“You can’t fabricate this kind of pressure in practice,” stated Spartans head coach Ben Josephson. “You learn a lot about yourself and how you react to stuff. We learned that we had a tough time serving under pressure and making appropriate tactical decisions. We left Daniel and Brad some pretty good looks under pressure situations. To Graham’s credit he gave them some pretty good sets and they delivered some bombs. We can’t have their best players get those kinds of shots. We are just learning how to communicate on the fly. It is easy when I tell them but it is hard when the game is on the line.”
Personnel wise, Josephson was pleased with the play of Blake Sheerhoorn (3rd year, outside hitter, Belleville, ON). “He is just moving to the left side this season. This was his third ever game there. He handled the position quite well. He attacked well and received better than I was expecting. I thought Devon Plett (3rd year, setter, Winnipeg, MB) had a good set of games. He is coming back after a couple of years being injured. It was cool to see him out there.” Plett had 51 assists, two service aces, five digs a solo block and two block assists.
Sheerhorn had 18 kills in 40 chances with two service aces, six digs and four block assists. Trinity Western was led by Ryal Sclater (4th year, outside hitter, Port Coquitlam, BC) with 21 kills in 38 opportunities with five digs and four block assists.
For TRU: Rod had 19 kills in 41 chances with four service aces and seven digs. Gunter had 16 kills in 34 opportunities with 10 digs and a block assists. Bringloe had 11 kills in 20 opportunities with seven digs, a solo block and a block assist. Groenendijk had seven kills in 20 swings with three service aces.
Stoliker had 50 assists and nine digs while O’Reilly had six digs.
TRU will be back on the court in their second match this evening at 7 pm in the final game of the night against the UBCO Heat. Trinity Western will play “The Pack”—a split squad of TRU players at 5 pm.
“The Pack” was taking on UBCO in the other match of the day which went at 2 pm.
All action is at the Tournament Capital Centre. The Tournament wraps up on Friday.
SIDE OUTS: Josephson had this assessment of the stars of both teams; ” Super impressed with Daniel. Moving from middle to left is hard. He received well and attacked great. Brad is always awesome. We saw some of the best in the league going at it. We have Sclater and Blake, you have Brad and Daniel. We have very similar setters: little guys with good hands. The teams resemble each other a little bit. Young middles on both teams. It will be fun to play them again tomorrow.”