Kamloops BC: The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack women's volleyball team experienced some highs and lows in the Canada West preseason. Those peaks and valleys continued into the first weekend of the regular season. After a strong five set performance Friday (Oct 28) against the visiting Univeristy of Alberta Pandas, the 'Pack came up short on Saturday (Oct 29). They lost in straight sets to the Pandas. The scores were 25-23,25-11,25-12
After challenging the Pandas in the first set, the WolfPack struggled in the remaining two sets. This was very similar to what they experienced in a number of their exhibition matches. Alberta, the number two ranked team in Usports swept the opening weekend series with Thompson Rivers. Meg Casault (5th year, outside hitter, Edmonton, AB) led the way offensively for Alberta with 13 kills in 28 chances with five digs. TRU's main offensive threat was Canada West and Usport Player of the Year Iullia Pakhomenko (5th year, outside hitter, Donetsk, Ukraine) with nine kills in 18 swings with two service aces, three digs and two block assists.
Cassault 13 kills in 28 chances, five digs one block assist
Shauny Hogg three kills in eight swings, two service aces, one solo block and two block assists
Mariah Walsh 23 assists, four digs, two block assists.
Pakhomenko 9 kills in 18 chances two service aces, three digs, two block assists
Rachel Windhorst 5 kills in 19 swings, five digs, one block assist
Abby Spratt 11 assists.
Alberta 2-0 TRU 0-2
TRU head coach Chad Grimm:
On team's inconsistent play:"There is going to be some ups and downs. Obviously last night was a difficult one. We had hoped that we could regroup and let that go. We did for the first set and then after that we kind of lost it."
On getting rookies Mikayla Funk (South Surrey,BC), Avery Pottle (Uxbtridge, ON) and Sarah Dobinson(Whitby, ON) their first USport experience: "Last night and tonight Avery came in and did a good job. Sarah passed the ball well. Carly came in and defended well along with talking as much as she could."
Alberta head coach Laurie Eisler:
On battling back in the first set for second straight night: " They put us in what seemed like the same spot as last night. We had to dig deep pretty good to pull that set out. I was happy with the team and how they performed the last part of that set.
On what she liked from her team this weekend: " There is a level of maturity. I think the experience we have had over the last couple of years is starting to pay off. We have learned from things that happened in the past and we are a little tougher team to play against."
Next week (Nov 4-5), Alberta is idle while the WolfPack pay a visit to Brandon to take on the Bobcats. Next home match for the WolfPack will be Friday, November 11th when they will meet up with the Mount Royal University Cougars. Game time will be 6 pm.
WolfPack outside hitter/libero Alina Sopizhuk (5th year, Donetsk, Ukraine) was named the TRU Bookstore/McDonalds "Leader of the Pack player of the match". She had one kill in 11 swings with a dig. It was a good way to celebrate her 23rd birthday.