Posted on: February 7, 2018
The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack are hoping to keep their hot streak going as they face the University of British Columbia Okanagan Heat in a home and home Canada West series this week.
The two teams play Thursday night in Kelowna (Feb 8) and then return to Kamloops for the back half on Saturday (Feb 10).
Despite the bye week, TRU remains the number nine ranked team in USPORTS.
Date: Thursday Feb 8th /Saturday Feb 10th Time: 8 pm/6:45 pm PDT
Location: “The Furnace”, UBCO campus, Kelowna, BC /Warner Rentals court, Tournament Capital Centre, Kamloops, BC
TRU Record: 9-11 Last 5 Games: 5-0 (6-4 at home)
UBCO Record: 2-18 Last 5 Games: 0-5 ( 2-8 on the road)
Important Game Notes:
This is the first time the teams have met in the regular season since former WolfPack player, assistant coach and interm head coach Mike Hawkins joined UBCO as an assistant. This is the latest installment of the President’s Cup competition between the two schools. TRU has already captured the women’s title with a 4-0 record after both the soccer and basketball teams swept their regular season series with the Heat. On the men’s side, TRU enters Thursday’s match leading (2-1-1). The men’s soccer team won and tied, men’s basketball won and lost.
This is the start of a two matches in three days series between the two teams. They will play the ‘rubber match’ on Saturday, February 10th on the Warner Rentals court at the Tournament Capital Centre. That will be donor and Ken Olynyk Appreciation night.
The WolfPack are led offensively by Tim Dobbert who was named a tournament all-star last week when the team was in Hawaii for an exhibition tournament. The WolfPack dropped all three matches in that event, which included a professional team and the host University of Hawaii-the number three ranked team in NCAA Division I.
Thoughts from WolfPack head coach Hennelly:
On building on their Hawaiian experience: “ We got some good reps in there and three matches. We mimicked or did more of what we would have done if we had stayed home during that week. Overall a positive experience facing a Hawaii team which have lost only once at home since 2016. We did a good job of controlling our emotions. We had little slips in the first and second sets at the midway point. We matched them to 15 and lost pace. In the third set, we had opportunities to win that game. We made a couple of errors down the stretch after 20 (points) and Hawaii made a couple of exceptional plays to win the set. It is going to mimic what we will see in the final four league matches and the playoffs if we get there.”
On matchup vs UBCO: “ We match up pretty well. We are obviously playing some good volleyball. They are having a tough time in 2018 going a stretch without winning a set. That being said Lars (Bornemann) is one of the top players in the league. He is very consistent and we have to put some effort in to stopping him.. Not sure who they are going to run in the setter spot so we have to look at multiple lineups. I think we have an edge in the middle blocking position potentially. They have Eli Russo who is one of the top liberos in the league. I think head to head, we match up pretty well. Before this run, we were in the same spot as those guys.”
Motivation for his players shouldn’t be an issue with a fight for a playoff spot, geographic rivals and the Hawkins affect: “The guys are ready to play. We have been playing good volleyball. We played good volleyball in Hawaii. We want to keep that going. It is a tough turnaround playing on Thursday. But I want to play as much as possible and practice as little as possible right now. We have really good feel on the court. We have a couple of Kelowna guys on the team and it’s our closest geographical rivals. These guys are familiar with each other. Mike was with us last year and those guys this year, I don’t how much of a factor it will be. I have always liked Mike and have a lot of respect for him. It’s chapter. Hopefully they (UBCO) have some energy and they get a good crowd out.”
Players to Watch:
Tim Dobbert (4th year, outside hitter, Aichelberg, Germany) second in Canada West in both kills (308) and kills per set (4.11)
Landon Currie (1st year, libero, Vernon, BC) third in Canada West in digs per set (2.26) and fourth in digs (154)
Eli Russo (3rd year, libero, Kelowna, BC) leads Canada West in digs (190) and digs per set (2.68).
Lars Bornemann (5th year, outside hitter, Victoria, BC) third in Canada West in kills per set (4.10) and fourth in kills (283).
If you can’t make the game/match: watch online (pay per view) at www.canadawesttv.ca
Home game/match highlights will be available by logging onto www.gowolfpack.tru.ca