onsidering Brad Gunter had 30 kills on Friday night, his biggest swings came from behind the service line.
Gunter smashed the winning ace as the TRU WolfPack knocked off the Brandon Bobcats in five sets (23-25, 25-18, 24-26, 27-25, 15-9) in a Canada West men's volleyball match at the Tournament Capital Centre. The teams will tangle again tonight, 6:45, at the TCC.
Gunter had another Herculean effort on Friday, smashing 30 kills like it was nothing special. But he stood behind the service line for the WolfPack's most important points - late in the fourth set and again for the final four points of the fifth set.
Not bad for a player whose serve is deadly, but only when accurate. And, for a time in the third-year Courtenay native's career, it wasn't very accurate.
"His first year, he missed the most serves in the CIS - not that I track that, but the guys reminded him of it," said WolfPack head coach Pat Hennelly. "Here he is - but that's his development, you have to move and develop to survive in this league.
"That's awesome - end of the fourth, end of the fifth, (he's) in control, smashing serves."
Gunter, the best player on a WolfPack team now 9-4 and possibly set to improve on its No. 7 national ranking, was just trying to keep the ball in play.
"I was struggling in the first couple of sets to get my serve figured out and get it in," he said. "I felt like I got into a flow in the fourth and fifth sets."
Gunter ended with two aces and six service errors, and also was in on five blocks and dug 14 balls. It was, quite simply, what the WolfPack has come to expect from him.
But it wasn't a one-man show. Casey Knight had 13 kills and two aces, and Stuart Richey had 11 kills and eight digs. Colin Carson had 52 set assists.
Richey's gutsy effort proved the blueprint for what was a gutsy effort from the WolfPack.
"Stuart Richey provided a spark early in the second set," Hennelly said. "He got some big kills for us and brought some energy, a couple of big digs, and we need that.
"People see 36 points for Brad Gunter, but Stuart Richey . . . provided some leadership we needed."
Matt Krueger had 10 digs in the victory. Sam Tuivai had 16 kills for the Bobcats, who were scrappy all night, with Frank Jones getting 13 and Dan Boutwell getting 12. Jeremy Davies had 16 digs in the loss.
It was the type of heavyweight battle one would expect from the Bobcats and WolfPack, both of them ranked in the nation's top 10 (Brandon is No. 5). There were long stretches of back-and-forth play punctuated by tough rallies.
"It's the biggest win of the year and one of the biggest wins for this program," Hennelly said. "We fought through stuff today. . . . That shows the maturity of this team."
he WolfPack women's volleyball team, meanwhile, lost in three sets (25-17, 25-13, 25-12) to the Bobcats at the TCC.
The teams will meet again tonight at 5 o'clock. The WolfPack is 0-13, while Brandon is 10-3.
Morgan Kolasa led the WolfPack with five kills. Shanlee McLenna had 12 kills for Brandon.
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RU's women's basketball team defeated the host Bobcats 62-59 on Friday.
Kassie Colonna, who led the WolfPack with 17 points, put in the go-ahead points with 1:16 remaining. Taiysa Worsfold added 14 points and 12 rebounds, and Sydney Williams scored 12 points. Rae-Maryse Laljee had 13 rebounds for TRU, which is 7-5.
Stephanie Haynes had 14 points for Brandon, which fell to 2-9.
The WolfPack is at home to the Fraser Valley Cascades on Friday and Jan. 18.
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he WolfPack men's basketball team lost 74-70 to the host Bobcats on Friday.
Josh Wolfram had 23 points and 11 rebounds for the WolfPack (7-5), and Will Ondrik added 13 points. Tallon Milne also scored 12 points, while Troy Grant chipped in 10.
Jordan Reaves had 17 points for Brandon, Kenonte Ramsey scored 16, Emerick Ravier added 13 and A.M. Benabdelhak had 10.
The WolfPack returns to the TCC for a Friday-Saturday set with the Cascades.