For the first time in their history, the WolfPack and head coach Pat Hennelly are pleased to announce the signing of a player from Australia
Kamloops, BC—The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s volleyball team has had players from Turkey, Monaco, Denmark, Egypt and the United States. For the first time in their history, the WolfPack and head coach Pat Hennelly are pleased to announce the signing of a player from Australia.
Outside hitter/setter Anton Napolitano of Kew high school in Victoria, Australia has agreed to join the TRU program in September. The 6’4” Napolitano (pronounced na-poli-tarno) last played for the Melbourne University Renegades. Napolitano will be taking courses aimed at earning a Bachelor of Arts with an eye to going into education in the future.
“Of the universities that I approached,” he says. “I found TRU to be the most welcoming and helpful, both in terms of its volleyball program and its academic assistance. It has a friendly and inclusive community feel about it whilst also offering a great volleyball program.”
“I immediately liked Anton’s size and athleticism,” says Hennelly. “He plays multiple positions which show his skill level and has a solid vertical. We are bringing in Anton as an outside hitter but will continue to develop all of his skills. I believe Anton will play a big part in our program over the next five years.”
Napolitano believes versatility is his greatest strength. “I believe being able to fill a variety of roles is very important.”
His coach in high school for six years was Louise Bates. “ Anton is a quiet worker,” she says. “He goes about his business in a polite and friendly manner without much fuss. I haven’t seen CIS volleyball but I believe he will be successful no matter where he goes. Anton is athletic, tall and has good all-around volleyball skills. He is also competitive and will be keen to learn.”
Napolitano is looking forward to the cultural change with the move to Canada, BC and Kamloops. “My first impressions of TRU, the Tournament Capital Centre and Kamloops blew me away. It is all amazing. Kamloops looks great; whilst the weather is going to be much colder I am used to, the picturesque surrounding areas more than make up for the drop in temperature over the winter. A very cold day for me here in Melbourne is a low of minus two and a high of 10 degrees.”
The WolfPack’s newest recruit has seen CIS play before—on the internet—“I watched Trinity Western vs McMaster at the CIS Championships which was of a similar standard to our Australian Volleyball League Grand Final. My greatest adjustment will be playing before big crowds. I am hoping to feed off their energy and use this to lift my game further.”
As far as getting involved with the WolfPack’s community initiatives, he says: “As a senior in High School, I always enjoyed coaching younger students, I therefore look forward to reaching out into the wider community as much as possible to teach and pass on information. Hence, my desire to become a teacher. I would gladly take the opportunity to share my knowledge of the game to help improve others and am looking forward to the preseason coaching clinics Pat has included me in.”
Napolitano becomes the second signing of the WolfPack for the coming season along with Jakob Hamilton (setter, Calgary, AB). He has conversed with Hamilton via email.
SIDE OUTS: Hennelly and Napolitano wanted to thank TRU Academic Advising. “I want to thank Verlinda Wale and Charlene Munro for their prompt responses to Anton,” Hennelly stated. “They are a tremendous asset in recruiting”.
Added Napolitano: “I look forward to being part of the WolfPack Community.’
Bates on Napolitano deciding to come to Canada: “ I am glad he is giving this a go and I’m sure he’ll make the most of this life changing opportunity. Hopefully, he’ll learn a lot, enjoy university volleyball and I am sure he will be a valuable player for your team.”
He becomes the second Australian volleyball player in TRU history. The first was Katarina Osadchuk who played for the women’s program four years ago. She now plays professional volleyball in Poland and is on the Australian senior women’s national team.