Posted on: September 27, 2017
The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s volleyball team will test their meddle against their closest geographical Canada West rival this weekend.
The WolfPack are playing a ‘home and home’ exhibition series with the University of British Columbia Okanagan Heat.
The teams will play Friday (Sept 29) night at George Elliot Secondary School in Winfield, BC before they come to Kamloops for a 7 pm faceoff at the TRU Gym on Saturday night (Sept 30).
Pat Hennelly’s crew is looking to improve upon their first weekend of exhibition play: last week against UBC and Trinity Western. “We played some great volleyball at times,” Hennelly said referring to his teams defeats to the Thunderbirds and Spartans. “We have worked hard on blocking and passing and both skills are improved. We had leads that slipped so belief in our ability at the end of games is still a work in progress. We need to serve tougher down the stretch and be smoother in transition.”
With the regular season only a few weeks away, the WolfPack bench boss says a few battles for starting positions remain. “The battle to start, especially at outside hitter and setter is not even close to be settled. We will be refining the lineups for these two matches with only a few changes in starters. We played everyone on the coast tour with six matches or scrimmages. We are continuing to work on block along with serve and pass this week. We have to keep establishing a baseline for skill execution and with limited gym time due to the TCC renovations that has been a challenge.”
When looking at this weekend’s opponents, Hennelly says: “UBC Okanagan swept us last year so we are looking to be competitive this weekend. We have a lot of ground to make up to go from 12th to at least 8th and a playoff spot. UBC Okanagan is in the same spot of fighting and challenging to move up into the post season. Should be a great series with a local rival and we will not see again until the second semester.”
UBC Okanagan added some “TRU presence” to their coaching staff when they hired former player, assistant and interim head coach Mike Hawkins during the off season.
Thompson Rivers opens up their 2017-18 Canada West regular season campaign on Friday, October 20th when they entertain the MacEwan University Griffins of Edmonton, Alberta. Match time begins at 7:45 pm on the Warner Rentals Court at the Tournament Capital Centre.