Mike Davies: Sports Editor Ω
Both the TRU men’s and women’s volleyball programs improved this past season, according to their respective coaching staffs, which means there’s a lot to look forward to next season at the Tournament Capital Center.
Though the women’s team struggled to find wins this year—only earning two—they’ve made great strides off-court, according to head coach Keith Lundgren.
“We did a good job of changing the direction and the culture that we want,” said Lundgren after the final weekend of the season.
“[We’ve developed our] work ethic and putting players in leadership roles. This is very important in being an elite athletee—the physical training, for example. This wasn’t put in place before I got here. It is now.”
The transition to Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) from the Alberta College Athletic Association was a huge step up for Lundgren, but one he found as enriching as he did challenging.
“The experience was very good,” said Lundgren.
“The athletes were coachable, the support team here was excellent and then the community involvement was something that I didn’t expect. Just the chance to connect with the community. It is ingrained here. That experience enriches [the players’] lives.”
Not only should the squad have three key leaders returning next year—team captain Kelly Asleson and outside hitters Anna Dyakiewicz and Amanda Frayne—but the program has also caught the eye of many top recruits from around the country.
The team’s struggles this season were just a part of the changing culture of the program, as “Changing behaviour is always very difficult. It takes time and repetition. We are on the right path,” according to Lundgren.
The future also looks bright for the WolfPack men’s volleyball program.
Pat Hennelly’s boys made the post season for the fifth straight season, but couldn’t win their way past the 2010 national silver medal winners.
Being beaten in two straight matches at Trinity Western University in the first round of the playoffs comes with no shame, as the ‘Pack played this season with no players having more than two years of experience at this level of competition.
“It was a good year,” said Hennelly.
“I believe we set the pace for the season and raised the expectations for the team,” with three pre-season matches against all three CIS medalists from the previous season.
“We were in a rebuilding phase and to finish the year .500 with a 9-9 record and qualify for playoffs is a good platform to build from.
“I believe we have set the standard for next year to be a better team and move further along in the post season,” Hennelly added.
“We have two great recruits and a transfer student from University of Manitoba already signed for next year,” Hennelly said, “It looks to be a better team on paper and I am really excited about next year.”
Matt Krueger missed this season due to injury, “so really we are adding four key components to an already good squad.”
Hennelly will now go on to coach Team B.C. at this summer’s Western Canada Summer Games and will welcome the newest edition to the Hennelly family in late March with the birth of his first child. He then gears up for next season with the ‘Pack as they try to make it six straight CIS playoff appearances.