Kamloops, BC—The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack have added some veteran presence to their roster for the 2017-18 Canada West men’s volleyball season.
Head coach Pat Hennelly has returned to his duties and has announced that he has secured the services of 6’8” opposite hitter Tim Dobbert and 6’9” setter Alex Cassels. Both will join the program in September.
Dobbert is a native of Germany who has spent the last four years at Brigham Young University in Salt Lake City, Utah (NCAA Div I). Cassels is from East St. Paul, Manitoba and played the last two seasons at the College of the Rockies in Cranbrook, BC (PACWEST). Dobbert has two more years of athletic eligibility while Cassels is entering his fifth and final year.
“It was a good fit coming to TRU because I’m still able to complete my Tourism and Recreation Management diploma through the university and have a chance to extend my education,” says Cassels, who spent two seasons playing Canada West volleyball at the University of Regina. “The city is in a beautiful location and I enjoy still being in the mountains. I will be great to finish my playing career off with former teammate Randy Grundmann (going into his 5th year) and competing against old teammates.”
“I think TRU is a great opportunity for me,’ states Dobbert. “The one year left I have in the U.S. transfers into two years in Canada. I’ll get my degree and able to play two years of volleyball. I don’t think it will be an adjustment playing in Canada West. I have practiced with Ryerson University (Dobbert’s good friend plays on that team) and have some familiarity.”
Both players are proven winners. Dobbert helped BYU win two conference championships along with two silvers and a bronze at the NCAA Championships. Cassels was a part of the COTR team which finished fourth and fifth in his two years in PACWEST.
Says coach Hennelly about the two: “Tim Dobbert emailed us about a possible transfer from BYU sometime in late November or early December. We started talking and working out details and I was pretty confident Tim would chose TRU if he was to transfer. In April he emailed saying he was staying at BYU. I was disappointed but stayed in touch and in May Tim emailed to say he was going to transfer. “
He adds: “Tim brings size and experience to our team next year. Tim joins the bulk of our core entering his 4th year. We have a majority of our team in third and fourth year and Tim will be an excellent complement to this group. It is fortunate that I turned down a few international players and had a spot open for Tim, who I believe will be an impact player in our league. “
Hennelly now on Cassels: “Alex Cassels is a players talked to coming out of high school. It wasn’t a fit since we had Colin Carson and Graham Stoliker. We had a setter quit during this past season leaving us in a tough spot. It is fortunate that Alex is available and wanted to give Canada West another shot. Alex will be competitive for playing time and adds size and experience to our roster. Adding both of these veterans makes for an exciting time next year.”
“I’m excited to start a new chapter in my life,” Dobbert states.
“I’m excited to finish my last year back in USport/Canada west and have the chance to play former teammates while joining an exciting young team,” adds Cassels.
Dobbert and Cassels bring to three the number of new recruits for the WolfPack entering the 2017-18 season. The other is libero Landon Currie of Fulton Secondary in Vernon.
SIDE OUTS: Dobbert had stats last year of: 84 sets played, 183 kills, 87 digs, 14 service aces, 4 solo blocks, 48 block assists and 225 points scored. Cassels played in 21 matches and 82 sets. He had 14 service aces, 121 digs and 23 solo blocks. PACWEST doesn’t record assists or block assists.
Cassels on his strengths: “I consider myself to be a strong team leader, always being in the ‘quarterback’ position. I was an assistant captain the past two seasons. I am a tall setter so I use my size as an advantage when it comes to blocking and dumping the ball while also allowing for a faster offense and quicker middle attack.”
When asked about being a part of the WolfPack’s various community initiatives, Cassels states: “I do a lot of volunteering in my day to day life. I have coached volleyball at different age levels finishing this past year as a coach of a grade 5-6 boys team and a U-13 boys club team. I enjoy being involved in the community and helping others.”