KAMLOOPS, BC—Another accolade for Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s volleyball player Nimo Benne.
The first year outside hitter from Castricum, Netherlands has been named the Canada West Rookie of the Year. This came as part of the major award winners being announced the by the league and follows up last week’s selection of Benne to the Canada West all-rookie team.
Benne, a computing science student was the WolfPack’s main offensive threat for most of the season. He was fourth overall in Canada West in kills (265), ninth in kills per set (3.23), ninth in overall digs (131), 12th in digs per set (1.60) and in hitting per centage (.254).
He also was second this Canada West season in kills in a match when he notched 30 against the University of Winnipeg Wesmen on January 4, 2020. He accumulated 31.5 scoring points in that match which was the fourth most in a match and was the third most points in a five set match.
Benne isn’t the first WolfPack player to be named Canada West rookie of the year. He follows in the footsteps of Gord Perrin (2007), who is now the captain of Canada’s senior men’s national team, Robin Schoebel (2006) and Kevin Tillie (2010). Tillie was also the CIS (now USPORTS) rookie of the year as well.
Nationally, his kill total was sixth best in USPORTS, He was eighth in USPORTS in total attacks (603), 14th in digs (131) and 19 th in the nation in kills per set (3.23)
Benne will now go up against reps of the OUA, RESQ and AUS for the USPORTS rookie of the year. That will be announced at the U SPORTS Nationals men’s volleyball championships later this month when they are played at the University of Manitoba.
WolfPack head coach Pat Hennelly reacted to the news of Benne’s selection by saying, “ It is always tough to tell with Rookie of the year. It is dependent on who in the league has an opportunity to play And how the handle that early playing time. Nimo has the opportunity early on and improved as the season went on. This was quite a good year for rookies In Canada West, with many players on the all rookie team getting significant playing time. Nimo topped it out. His numbers, when you put it on paper are really quite good. He was on the leaderboard for not only rookies but all players in Canada West in terms of kills and digs. It showed that he is a complete player. Nimo compares with our other past winner Schoebel, Perrin and Tillie who all had great first years and careers”
Without knowing which players nationally Benne will be competing with Hennelly states, “ I think any time you have the numbers Nimo did in Canada West you have a chance Nationally. Nimo will definitely be in the running for U Sports rookie of the year”
Thompson Rivers Athletics and Recreation director Curtis Atkinson stated, “ I am so pleased to see Nimo recognized for his incredible first year at TRU. Pat identified Nimo as a key recruit last year and he had an immediate impact on our team. Nimo showed a rare ability to make the jump to Canada West competition and to contribute right away. I was impressed by Nino’s ability to adjust to a new country, a new school, a new league, and a new team and to play with the poise and maturity of a veteran player. I look forward to watching Nimo continuing to grow as part of the WolfPack for the next four years.”