KAMLOOPS – After a tight first set, the UBC Thunderbirds dominated the rest of the way to earn a 3-0 (28-26, 25-17, 25-17) victory over the men’s volleyball team Thompson Rivers Wolf Pack.
Playing in front of a raucous crowd inside the TRU Gymnasium, the WolfPack celebrated the careers of soon-to-graduate players Anton Neapolitan and Kyle Taylor After the game. Napolitano and Taylor have spent six years with the program and find their names littered in the program’s records.
“Their first year with us they finished last, but those guys were some of the key things that turned things around and three years later we were in Alberta sweeping the Golden Bears in the playoffs,” said the head coach of WolfPack. pat hennelly. “During COVID I had family issues and couldn’t train as much as I wanted to and these guys took over and really showed great leadership. They both got theirs already. undergraduate degree, but they both wanted to come back for another year and help start the next rebuild.”
“They mean so much to the program it’s hard to describe.”
The visiting Thunderbirds topped the boxscore for the game. UBC beat TRU 0.311% – 0.075% and had eight blocks against the WolfPack’s two.
Michel Dowhaniuk was an absolute force for UBC. One of the main aces-per-set leaders added two more service aces to his impressive mark while hitting nearly 0.500 percent from the floor with 12 kills of 23 kills. Cole Brandsma went an impressive 11-17 while Mason Greaves collected 32 assists.
A home-and-away first set barely passed the Thunderbirds.
A Zarley Zaluski Service aces to make it 15-10 in favor of the visitors seemed to put the Thunderbirds on the road to victory. The WolfPack responded, however, with a 6-2 run and a big block of Michael Svab forced a UBC timeout with the lead at 17-16. The teams traded points until Napolitano tied the set up at 21-21 with the number 104 service ace of his career WolfPack. TRU had set points at 24-23, 25-24 and 26-25, but the Thunderbirds managed to fight them all and the visitors won the first set at 28-26 thanks in large part to a pair of difficult serves from Dowhaniuk.
What was a tight second set at the technical timeout was opened wide by the Thunderbirds late.
After the teams entered the break with UBC leading 16-13, the visitors scored nine of the next 13 points to win the third set 25-17. Dowhaniuk went 7-11 on his attacks in the frame.
The third set followed much the same script, with things looking tight early on before UBC pulled out. The visitors hit 0.375% as a team in the frame while limiting the WolfPack to just four kills as UBC racked up six blocks in the set led by two from Cole Brandsma.
For the WolfPack, however, the evening was more than the result on the floor, as they had the chance to pay tribute to two influential figures in the program’s history.
“I can’t really sum it up,” Napolitano said. “Six years is a long time but it goes by so fast. It means the world to me, this program has changed the direction of my life and all I can say is thanks to the coach pat hennelly.”
Both of these teams will wrap up their scheduled regular season tomorrow inside the TRU Gymnasium. With both teams locked in their playoff spots, they will be looking to build momentum before the playoffs begin next weekend. This game will start at 2 p.m. and can be viewed live on canadawest.tv.