Posted on: October 2, 2018
The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s volleyball team will get a litmus test this week.
Pat Hennelly is taking his crew to Eastern Canada for exhibition matches and controlled scrimmages against three of the top teams in U SPORTS: the McMaster Mauraders (Hamilton, ON), University of Laval Rouge et Or (Laval, QC) and the University of Montreal Caribins (Montreal, QC). The matches start Thursday (Oct 4).
“This trip actually began with us trying to arrange a trip to New Brunswick to play UNB,’ said Hennelly. “They invied us and I always wanted to take my team out there (Eastern Canada). During the planning stages, I tried to build something along the way in either Ontario or Quebec. I really wanted to secure Laval but they could only play us on the Friday (Oct 5). We looked at that and realized that going out to Atlantic Canada would be a tough thing to do especially since McMaster agreed to play us before. Once Montreal agreed to play us it was a no brainer to save New Brunswick for another year. The coaches consensus is that Montreal and McMaster are two of the best teams in the nation. Laval is always tough and is hosting Nationals this year. Potentially, those are three teams who will be at Nationals so to get a look at them now is an advantage.”
The ’Pack have a 3-2 record so far in preseason. “ We are off to a pretty good start, “ he says. “ I think we have been as consistent as we ever have in the preseason. This will be a big test. It will be a step up in play. I like what I see on the court from us. We are serving at a higher level than we were last year. That is good to see.”
Hennelly has three first year players and so far they haven’t looked out of place. “ Sam Elgert (setter, Edmonton, AB) was great. We also had Ryan Hampe (outside hitter, Prince George, BC) out there. He performed quite well. One of the biggest compliments you can give to a first year player is that you don’t notice him because he isn’t making mistakes. That was Hampe this past weekend. We did notice Elgert (who had 30 assists against UBCO in their first match last weekend) in a positive way as well. He ran a very effective offense and had some great serving runs. We knew when we got Sam that he would be a good player and that is starting to show.”
Hennelly says unlike most exhibition matches, the ones in Eastern Canada will see him go with his starters in the formal exhibition tilts. All the players will get court time during scrimmages.
The WolfPack open up their Canada West season on the Warner Rentals court at the Tournament Capital Centre on Friday, October 23rd against the defending national champion UBC Thunderbirds. Game time is 6:45 pm.