Wednesday April 16, 2014

Olynyk stands behind volleyball coach

Lundgren gets vote of support from director

Despite its 0-12 record at the midway point of the Canada West season, the TRU WolfPack women's volleyball team and its coaching staff have the support of the athletic department.

Athletic director Ken Olynyk told The Daily News on Monday night that he supports head coach Keith Lundgren 100 per cent and that Lundgren will be at the team's helm when the season resumes in January.

"I don't have any qualms with him being back in January," Olynyk said. "The team has to continue to progress and that's all we're trying to do. We're supporting our student athletes and supporting our coach right now."

The 2013-14 season has been tough on the WolfPack, just as the 2012-13 campaign was. The team has not won a Canada West match since February 2012, when it defeated the UBC-Okanagan Heat 3-2 - one of nine victories that season. But since then, the WolfPack has lost 37 consecutive matches, winning five of 113 sets in that span. The women have scored 20 or more points in 26 of those sets.

"We're just trying to get better every day, that's kind of where we're at right now," Lundgren said. "We're still pretty young, we're a second-year squad, it's just getting them to get into competitive mode and what it's going to take to start winning some matches in the CIS."

Olynyk said a number of things contribute to a team's record and didn't believe the entire burden of the WolfPack's record rested on the team's coaching staff.

"Sometimes some of that would rest with the coaches, some of that rests with the players, some of that rests with the support that they're getting as a program. There can be multiple factors," Olynyk said. "You know, I don't think Keith's happy about that, I don't think the players are happy, I don't think I'm happy about that . . . we definitely would like to do better."

Despite being winless in the first half of the season, Lundgren said he isn't worried about his team's psyche and described the team's mood as "positive."

"I don't know that it has been tough on them, I think it's a process," he said. "It's the highest level of volleyball in the country and we're still pretty young, a lot of our team is only second year. . . . So I think it just takes time, right? We're just girls playing against women right now."

The WolfPack will be off until Jan. 10, when it resumes Canada West play at home against the Brandon Bobcats. Olynyk said improvement will have to come from within. When asked if he felt there was a need for a change in direction at the helm of the team, Olynyk stood behind his coach.

"There might be at some point, but that's not right now," Olynyk said.

"We're getting better," Lundgren said. "If you look at the scores and you look at the kills that we're generating, if you look at the numbers, we're getting better. So I think that's very positive."

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