Playing together, again

Six Team BC players have reunited by joining WolfPack men’s volleyball

Joining a new team can be scary, especially for anyone joining a CIS team straight out of high school.

Thankfully for six WolfPack rookies, the transition was made a lot easier because they played and trained together on Team BC in the summer of 2013.

The team of U-17 boys was split into two teams. Team A, which placed first in the Western Elite Championships, was coached by Nathan Bennett, assistant coach for WolfPack men’s and women’s volleyball, and Matt Krueger who is a team captain and fifth-year WolfPack player.

“I think they still look at me as a coach, but I’m trying to take that away a little bit. We have that relationship so they have that comfort level to come to me with their problems and issues, if they have any, or if they just need help, volleyball-wise,” Krueger said.

Sometimes the rookies will still call Krueger “Coach Matt.”

“I don’t tell them that they’re calling me that. It kind of makes me smile a little bit,” Krueger said.

Charles Oduro is one of the rookies coached by Krueger.

“I still see Matt as a coach. I learn from him every day. He’s a big inspiration to me,” Oduro said.

Charles Oduro, rising here to spike the ball during a WolfPack practice, is one of the six that joined the 'Pack from Team BC. (Tayla Scott/The Omega)

Charles Oduro, rising here to spike the ball during a WolfPack practice, is one of the six that joined the ‘Pack from Team BC. (Tayla Scott/The Omega)

Oduro was joined by Denham O’Reilly and coached by Krueger and Bennett on Team A, while Isaac Smit, Cole Hanson, Douglas Groenendijk and Keel Haldane played for Team BC’s Team B, and now all play together with the WolfPack.

“I figured some of them were going to come. I didn’t think that many of them were going to come at the same time. I guess they had a fun time together that summer with us and they just wanted to come back,” Krueger said.

Although the rookies signed at different times, already having a relationship with each other and the coaches was a motivator for joining the WolfPack.

“Pat [Hennelly] talked to me at Team BC and I knew Krueger on the team, and the fit was just perfect,” O’Reilly said.

“Through Team BC I got to know the Kamloops lifestyle and what the university is like. Pat also talked to me and Matt Krueger gave me great insight of how the team bonds,” Oduro said. “It seemed like a good idea and a perfect fit for me.”

“You’re not as pressured and you’re not as nervous since you have teammates that you played with before and you know pretty well,” Oduro said.

“It’s been good for them that they played together. That was a building block for them. The base level skills that they need to have and the preparedness that we gave them in the summer time has kind of carried over,” Krueger said.

The ‘Pack has 21 players, four more than it had last season. This makes it a challenge for the rookies to get game time.

“It’s tough for them because they’re coming in as the youngest guys, so they have to work the most to get playing time,” Krueger said, “but they’ve shown up to practice every single day, they’ve worked hard and some of them are competing to play during games, which is awesome.”

“Just to play at Team BC is a high level so you have that experience, you have that drive to keep getting better and better.”

“It’s a big change in the amount of practice times, the intensity of practice and how fast and how much harder everything is,” O’Reilly said. “It’s a lot different than what I was used to, but I still manage.”

Despite the adjustments the rookies still have to make, spirits remain high for the tight-knit team, which is still looking for its first win of the season.