Kamloops, BC—The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack are heading to the easternmost destination in the Canada West men’s volleyball league this weekend. The ‘Pack will meet up with the Brandon University Bobcats for matches Friday and Saturday (Nov 4-5).
The Bobcats split their opening weekend matches with UBCO while the ‘Pack fell to the University of Alberta Golden Bears: who continue to be the number one ranked team in USport’s top 10.
WolfPack interim head coach Mike Hawkins says there were some positives coming out of their first weekend of play. “It was important for us to see that we could compete and cause problems for even the best teams in our conference. Alberta is a veteran, established team who plays at a high level and we showed on Saturday that we are capable of playing at that quality and have success. After talking to the Golden Bears coaches afterwards, they were thoroughly impressed by our skill level. “
Hawkins says practices leading up to this weekend focused on a variety of things. “At this point in the season, there is still a lot of room for improvement so we have been working on a wide range of things. Now that our systems are fairly established, we are looking at building upon them and adding different schemes to what we do.”
Hawkins says the WolfPack will match up well with the Bobcats—who have been rivals since the two schools entered Canada West play over 10 years ago. “They have a few potent attackers and they are a tough team, but I think we do a lot of things that can disrupt their game.”
Brandon is led by Roy Ching who is tied for second in kills per set in Canada West at 4.43. The Bobcats have four of the top five leaders in digs per set: Reece Dixon (3.20), Jeremy Davies (3.00), Matt Powell (2.80) and Ching (2.71).
Ching is also fifth in digs with 19.
Mason Metcalf leads the Canada West in hitting per cent (.571) while Seth Friesen is fifth (.417). Powell is second in service aces per set (0.60).
When he looks at his line up from the opening weekend, Hawkins pointed to second year middle Sam Taylor Parks of Kelowna, BC as one who stood out. “Sam Taylor Parks had a very impressive opening weekend. Especially Saturday night, he began to take over the game with his blocking and attacking and was a major source of energy for our team. He attacks at a very efficient rate and has really been working on his defensive game, as has the rest of our strong core of Middles. “
This weekend’s matches will be webcast on a pay-per-view basis on Canada West TV. TRU will return home to host the Mount Royal Cougars November 11th and 12th on the Warner Rentals Court at the Tournament Capital Centre. Match time on Friday will be 7:45 pm.
SIDE OUTS: Hawkins wanted to acknowledge the support of his player’s friends and families for coming out to the TCC last weekend for the season openers. “Their energy was felt on the court and I think they are just as excited about this group as we are. Hopefully, we will continue to see large, noisy crowds throughout the season.”