TRU volleyball set for big seasons ahead

A season preview for the Wolfpack men’s and women’s volleyball teams

Women’s Volleyball celebrates and will be looking to keep their winning ways into the 2021/22 season. (TRU Athletics)

As the weather cools, volleyball at TRU is starting to heat up as both teams are expected to return to the court on Nov. 5.

This will be the first time regular game sessions are held since February  2020, fractions before COVID-19 took control of the sporting world.

The women’s team had a strong season in 2019 after dominating their season with a record of 20 wins and 14 losses. They followed it up with a playoff run that took them to the Canada West bronze medal match, where they were defeated by Mount Royal University. The women’s team will be looking to keep up their winning culture this season.

However, the women’s team will be undergoing big changes with some of their top players who have graduated over the past years. Kseniya Kocyigit, Olga Savenchuk, and Kendra Finch were all stat leaders for the team and each of them will be missing from the roster this season.

This change in the scenery will encourage many players to step up into bigger roles. Kendra Finch led the Wolfpack last season with 360 kills in the 2019 season and has now stepped into a leading role as an assistant coach. She forecasts how the team will fare and who they will rely on to fill her own shoes.

“I think we will definitely be a fighting team this year. Despite our youth and inexperience, I think that we have a lot of grit and eagerness to work hard. Our flexibility in our lineup will give us an advantage in many of our matchups,” Finch expressed. “I think some younger players that we will be looking to step up will be Siobhan Toal, Hayley McNaught, and Erin Mutch. I also would keep my eyes on Seray Altay who brings experience from Turkey and fifth year Katie Ludvig who is lighting it up on the defensive side of things.”

The men’s team will be looking to improve their record from the 2019 season after they posted 11 wins and 19 losses. It is looking like they may do just that after a successful pre-season which saw them win the majority of their games including victories against top programs such as the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University.

However, head coach Pat Hennelly is not expecting the world from his team after losing key former players such as Nimo Benne, Landon Currie, Kyle Behiels, Charlie Bringloe, Joshua Mullaney, and Sam Taylor Parks. With eight first-years and only two veterans returning to play, it seems that it will be a bit of a rebuilding year for the Wolfpack.

“We are starting fresh and looking to lay the foundation for the next two to three years. In this sport, you don’t just snap your fingers and have a successful program. There are no shortcuts in U-Sports,” explained Hennelly. “With that being said, I’m pleasantly surprised with how our team has performed in the preseason. I think it may have put a bit of a target on our back and we are going to have a fight every night.”

Both teams will begin their season in Langley on Friday, Nov. 5 as they take on the Trinity Western University Spartans in their home court. The women’s team will play at 6 p.m. followed by the men’s team at 8 p.m. If you would like to support the Wolfpack on their season opener, you can watch them live at cw.yaretv.com.