Campus Corner - WolfPack basketball teams open season

MARK HUNTER / Kamloops Daily News
October 21, 2010 01:00 AM

For two seasons, Gil Cheung and Scott Clark manned the same bench.

On Friday, the two men will make debuts on opposite benches.

Clark, who was hired as head coach of the TRU WolfPack during the offseason, leads his new team into the Canada West season Friday and Saturday against the Bobcats in Brandon. Clark is no stranger to Canada West, having spent 15 seasons as head coach at Simon Fraser, the last nine of which the Clan played in Canada West.

Cheung, who coached the BCCAA's Douglas Royals the last two seasons, was hired as Brandon's head coach in May. Cheung spent the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons as an assistant coach under Clark at Simon Fraser.

"Gil was my assistant, and we're pretty good friends," Clark said. "I know how Gil's team is going to play . . . he does a very good job. I know his team will be prepared - he's a good coach."

Cheung was hired to replace Keith Vassell, who resigned after the 2009-10 season.

Thom Gillespie was TRU's interim head coach the last two seasons after taking over from Nevin Gleddie before the 2008-09 season. Clark was hired in May, and has revamped the WolfPack's roster, which features only six returning players.

Unfortunately for the WolfPack, Clark's relatively late hiring meant that the team only managed to schedule three exhibition games, and those were spread out over two months.

"I don't think we're prepared, but I'm not sure anyone is at this time of year," Clark said. "Playing league games this early is difficult. My opinion is that you probably won't see very good basketball this weekend from either team."

The WolfPack will play a 24-game Canada West season - it plays each of the other 12 teams twice - with the top eight teams qualifying for the postseason.

TRU, which went 3-15 last season, has never qualified for the Canada West playoffs. Naturally, the team's chances of making the playoffs would improve with a pair of season-opening victories, but Clark isn't looking at it that way.

"All we're looking at is putting our best foot forward in one game right now, and that's the game we play Friday," he said. "We're trying to put together a good performance, then we'll take things from there Saturday."

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he WolfPack women's basketball team also is to open its season in Brandon.

Scott Reeves's women went 3-15 last season, but were 1-15 after opening the season with a pair of victories over the visiting Fraser Valley Cascades. The Bobcats, like the WolfPack, haven't won a lot of games lately - Brandon has won seven over the last four seasons - and were picked to finish last in a preseason poll of the 13 Canada West coaches.

TRU was ranked No. 11, ahead of the Trinity Western Spartans and the Bobcats.

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at Hennelly's long and demanding preseason schedule for his men's volleyball team is set to end Friday.

The WolfPack has played 10 exhibition games so far, nine of them against Canada West opponents. TRU has won three of its matches heading into Friday's match against the UBC-Okanagan Heat at the Tournament Capital Centre. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

The WolfPack is to open its Canada West season on Nov. 5 and 6 against the Trinity Western Spartans in Langley.

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he WolfPack soccer teams are to finish their B.C. Colleges Athletic Association regular seasons on the weekend, and there are plenty of playoff implications for Tom McManus's women's side.

TRU's women are 2-5-3, and head into the weekend out of the playoff picture. But victories over the Douglas Royals (3-5-3) on Saturday and the Kwantlen Eagles (7-2-1) on Sunday would go a long way in helping the WolfPack qualify for the BCCAA tournament.

If the WolfPack wins both of its games, and the Royals lose to the UBC-Okanagan Heat in Kelowna on Sunday, TRU gets the third playoff spot in Group A.

The weekend's games, scheduled for noon both days, are to be played at Hillside Stadium. The provincial tournament is scheduled for Oct. 27-29 in Surrey.

The WolfPack men also will play host to the Royals (9-0-1) and the Eagles (0-9-1), with both games to start at 2 p.m.

TRU is 6-2-2 and will finish second in Group A. It will play a quarterfinal game in Surrey on Oct. 29.

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aura Smylie, a rookie with the WolfPack women's soccer team, has been named the BCCAA player of the week.

Smylie, who is from 150 Mile House, had three goals and an assist as the WolfPack won its lone weekend game, 7-2 over the visiting UNBC Timberwolves. She has six goals in 10 matches and has become a big part of the WolfPack's attack.

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rad Pape, the 2009-10 BCCAA coach of the year, will take the TRU badminton team into its first tournament, at North Vancouver's Capilano University College on Saturday and Sunday.

TRU finished fourth overall and fifth at provincials last season.

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fter a 14th-place finish at the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association championships at The Dunes last week, the WolfPack golf team is gearing up for its last BCCAA tournament of the season.

TRU will close out the season with an event at Seymour Golf and Country Club in North Vancouver on Saturday and Sunday.

mhunter@kamloopsnews.ca


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