The University of British Columbia Okanagan Heat played scrooge on Thursday night (Nov 26). The Heat sent the fans of the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack home without an early Christmas present.
The Heat downed the WolfPack 3-2 in Canada West men’s volleyball action on the Warner Rentals Court at the Tournament Capital Centre. The scores in the final TRU home match before the Christmas break were 18-25,27-25,22-25,25-22,15-10.
Both squads are 3-8 going into their final match before the break: Saturday night (Nov 28) at the “Furnace” in Kelowna.
“This was a short turnover for us for sure,” said Heat coach Greg Poitras about his team returning from a road swing to Brandon, having two short practices and then playing to victory in this match. “We showed some character in the second set. We grinded it out in that set. They pushed, we pushed and winning that set gave us some confidence.”
“The second set will haunt some guys,” stated WolfPack head coach Pat Hennelly. “We won the first and seemed to have lots of momentum. We had the lead there (in the second). We just can’t finish. I don’t understand it. For guys who train as hard as we do, don’t take the initiative. This team (UBCO) has been on the road for five straight games. We have been home for over a week. We seemed like the team with a lack of energy. We were the team which didn’t talk and take initiative. It is so obvious that when we don’t talk, we don’t do well. It is certainly broken right now. It is unfortunate. This was a must win game. Our season hangs on Saturday. We need to win to save our season.”
Hennelly stopped short calling his team emotionally fragile at this point. “Fragile is when the game is tight and you make some mistakes. We lacked intensity. Could you be fragile when you have the lead? It is frustrating. We don’t seem to understand the situation. Maybe the fifth set we were fragile and thinking too much but not the second set. The match was there for the taking. We didn’t take advantage.”
UBCO had three players in double figures for kills led by Lars Bornemann wigth 18 in 37 attempts. He had a service ace, five digs and a block assist. Kyle Pankratz was 17 for 30 with five digs, a service ace, a solo block and two block assists. Alex Swiatlowski had 15 kills in 34 swings with five digs and six block assists. Kristof Schlagintwei had 53 assists, seven digs and three block assists.
For TRU: Brad Gunter (5th year, outside hitter, Courtenay, BC) was named the TRU Bookstore/McDonalds “Leader of the Pack” player of the match. He had 22 kills in 44 chances with four service aces, 12 digs, one solo block and two block assists.
Daniel Eikland Rod (4th year, outside hitter, Oz, Norway) added 16 kills in 33 chances with a service ace, and nine digs. Brandon Hewwing (5th year, outside hitter/middle, Calgary, AB) had 13 kills in 28 opportunities with nine digs and two block assists. Graham Stoliker (5th year, setter, Surrey,BC) added 54 assists and seven digs with a block assist.
Poitras said the victory Thursday adds another chapter to this storied rivalry. “They have a few Kelowna guys on their team and a lot of these guys are familiar from playing Team BC together. They like playing against each other. There is that and obviously I have a relationship with Pat: he is my former coach from UBC. We are two hours away. We want to win these matches and that’s what makes it exciting.”
The next home appearance for the WolfPack will be at their Holiday tournament on December 29 th and 30th. UBCO will be one of the teams at the event along with the University of Calgary Dinos and Royal Military out of Ontario (OUA).
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