By Larry Read
TRU Sports Information
KAMLOOPS, BC: At the Christmas break, the chances of the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack making the Canada West playoffs in men's volleyball were remote.
Now that is not the case. The WolfPack have virtually clinched a playoff spot after winning their eighth straight match.
On Saturday night (Feb 10) on the Warner Rentals court at the Tournament Capital Centre, the Pack swept the visiting University of British Columbia Okanagan Heat 3-1. The scores were 19-25-,25-19,25-22,25-20.
The WolfPack have a .500 record (11-11). They sit in the seventh and final playoff spot in the Canada West. Saskatchewan and Manitoba are next at 9-13 with two matches left in the regular season.
The WolfPack started the match without their top offensive threat in Tim Dobbert (4th year, outside hitter, Aichelberg, Germany). The Heat took advantage and took the first set 25-19. Lars Bornemann (5th year, outside hitter, Victoria, BC) and Adam Kern (4th year, middle, West Kelowna, BC) leading UBCO with four kills apiece. Joshua Mullaney (3rd year, outside hitter, Calgary, AB) was the top gunner for the Pack with four kills in nine chances.
Thompson Rivers regrouped and took the second set by the same 25-19 score. Charlie Bringloe (3rd year, outside hitter, Waterloo, ON) led the way with five kills on nine opportunities in the set. Landon Currie (1st year, libero, Vernon, BC) chipped in with four digs. Kern was UBCO's main offensive threat with four kills in six attempts.
The WolfPack captured the third set getting five kills a piece from Bringloe and Jordan Foot (5th year, middle, Prince George, BC) Bornemann had five kills in eight swings for the Heat.
In the fourth, TRU got to the technical time out first leading 16-15 and went onto a five point victory led by Mullaney with four kills in six chances.
SCORES BY SET:.
TRU: 19 25 25 25 --3
UBCO: 25 19 22 20 --0
Charlie Bringloe: 16 kills in 32 chances, 3 service aces, 6 digs
Josh Mullaney: 12 kills in 29 opportunities, 1 service ace, 6 digs, 5 block assists
Sam Taylor Parks (3rd year, middle, Kelowna, BC): 6 kills in 18 swings, 1 solo block, 4 block assists
Anton Napolitano (2nd year, setter, Victoria, Australia) 35 assists, 9 digs
Jordon Foot : 11 kills in 13 chances, 2 solo blocks, 6 block assists, 2 digs
Landon Currie : 9 digs, 7 assists
Lars Borneman: 12 kills in 29 chances, 8 digs
Devon Cote: 10 kills in 35 swings, 2 service aces, 1 solo block
Morgan Nichols: 39 assists
TRU :11-11 UBCO: 5-17
TRU head coach Pat Hennelly:
On whether in December he thought they would make the post season: "People kept asking me if we had a chance. I said we do but we have to win. I said eight of the first 10 but we won 9 of 10. Hats off to the guys, they kept putting the time in and didn't get discouraged. It is a great run. As a coach you want to be positive, but in our league you don't think you can go eight in a row and 9 out of 10. Some tough teams who really wanted to win. The big one was Saskatchewan. If they would have beat us twice, they would have clinched and we would have been hoping Manitoba would have lost. That was a huge one."
Character win tonight without Dobbert: "Oh ya. Best player on our team. One of the best players in the league. Charlie (Bringloe) steps up. Jordan Foot steps up. We talked about it on Thursday when we had to sub him out and guys had to come in. It is a character win. I think Dobbert could have gone tonight. That is not my style to get guys to go out of their comfort zone when they are sort of hurt. As a group, as part of development, we needed this. We needed a game where other guys had to step up. Tim is like a safety blanket. He makes big plays when it's needed. Thursday he went on a 6-0 serving run and a couple of kills. For other guys to do that, it makes us stronger not only for this year but down the road."
COACHES POST GAME VIDEO INTERVIEW: click here
Heat Coach Brad Hudson (2nd season):
On match: "it was a good match. Lots of young people on the floor, when that happens it gets exciteable."
COACHES POST GAME VIDEO INTERVIEW: click here
Next weekend (Feb 16-17), the WolfPack have the always tough Trinity Western University Spartans home to close out the Canada West regular season. The Heat will be on the road facing the Bisons at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg.
The TRU Bookstore/McDonalds "Leader of the Pack" player of the match was: Foot.
This was Donor Appreciation and Ken Olynyk Recognition night. The former TRU Athletics and Recreation director was honored. Among his gifts, was a City of Kamloops jacket presented by Mayor Ken Christian.
The match also featured the awarding of the "President's Cup". It's the annual battle between the UBCO and TRU sports teams in soccer, volleyball and basketball. This year's winner on the men's and women's side was Thompson Rivers.