UBC Okanagan completed its preseason schedule with a pair of matches versus Thompson Rivers University of the Canada West (CIS). On Thursday Oct 21st the Heat played a young Wolfpack lineup and were victorious in 4 sets (25-17, 25-17, 21-25, 25-21). Third year leftside hitter Nate Speijer led the squad with 24 points (18 kills, 4 aces, 2 blocks). Second year leftside Greg Niemantsverdriet followed with 13 points.
Freshman Cailen Lochhead added 8 kills and 3 blocks. On Friday the TRU bench was shortened as the match took place in front of 900 fans (feature match of TRU junior tournament). This proved to be a great exciting opportunity for the Heat to play in an exciting environment at the Tournament Capital Center in Kamloops. The Heat took the Wolfpack right to the limit winning in 5 sets (16-25, 24-26, 25-21, 27-25, 19-17). Greg Niemantsverdriet led the team with 16 kills. Speijer added 15, and second year Chris Howe had 13 kills (.650 kill efficiency).
Larry Reed - TRU Sports Information
Its the beginning of what should be a great rivalry. The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack and UBCO Heat did battle in exhibition men’s volleyball action Friday (Oct 22) at the Tournament Capital Center. In another year, they’ll be playing for real in the Canada West.
The Heat have left a bitter taste in the mouths of the WolfPack after taking TRU 3-2 before a large crowd at the TCC. The scores were 16-25, 24-26,25-20,27-25,19-17.
“We talked about the rivalry in the dressing room before,” said Heat head coach Greg Poitras. “ This is the beginning of a long tradition and a great rivalry between two great cities (Kamloops and Kelowna) and two great schools. We are looking forward to being in the same league with them.”. The Heat join the Canada West in 2011-12.
“I give them full credit,” explained TRU head coach Pat Hennelly. “We had a good line up in the first two sets. Ryan Talsma (5 th year, outside hitter, Orono, ON) came in to replace Alex Saddlemeyr (4th year, right side, Sidney, BC) who tweaked his ankle in the warm up. The starting line up in those first two sets is what we are going to go with when people are healthy. UBC Okanagan came back and got stronger as the match went on.”
CIS Rookie of the Year Kevin Tillie (2nd year, outside hitter, Cagnes Sur Mer, France) led the way with 28 kills in 63 attempts. He was named the “TRU Book store Leader of the Pack” player of the match. But he didn’t escape the eyes of the coach. “ I think he was a bit inconsistent,” said Hennelly. “ His numbers were good but I think we might have gone to him a little too much. We need to balance our attack a bit more.”
Hennelly figured the WolfPack middles didn’t perform as well as their UBCO counterparts down the stretch. “ UBCO got more aggressive in the third set.”
Talsma wound up with seven kills in 15 attempts in his three sets of work. Saddlemeyr had nine kills in 63 chances playing all five sets.
UBCO was led by Greg Niemantsverdriet (2nd year, outside hitter, Vernon, BC) who had 17 kills in 45 chances. Chris Howe (2nd year middle, Salt Spring Island, BC) had 13 kills with Nat Speijer (3 rd year, outside hitter, Penticton, BC) adding 11 kills.
“It took some time to get our groove going,” Poitras explained. “Thompson Rivers showed why they were the more experienced team in the first two sets. They took the foot off the gas a bit and we kept battling.”
Aside from Talsma, another player garnering praise from Hennelly was second year libero Spencer Reed (Prince George, BC).
“There were some great scramble plays that he was involved in,” he stated. “The intensity level was there.”
The WolfPack now have almost two weeks off before they open their 2010-11 Canada West season in Langley, BC against the Trinity Western Spartans.
Hennelly says his club needs to get some killer instinct. “ We had the chance to finish them early. We were cruising and we could have put down the hammer. We can’t let teams stick around when we could put them away.”
Meantime, Poitras says this is a big win going into the BC College Athletic Association season. “ I like where we are right now,” he says. “ We are not where we want to be but at this point of the season, I think we showed a lot of maturity and patience.”