No. 4 Dinos get revenge, split series with WolfPack

No. 4 Dinos get revenge, split series with WolfPack
Lindsay Franco, Dinos Communications Specialist
CALGARY – The No. 4 University of Calgary Dinos women's volleyball team took out the visiting Thompson Rivers WolfPack on Friday night 3-1 (23-25, 27-25, 25-21, 28-26) to split the opening weekend series of 2017.

The Dinos now improve to 9-3 while the WolfPack drop to 6-6. When asked about the changes from yesterday's match to today's, head coach Natalie Gurnsey had this to say. "I think we made much better adjustments. Yesterday we were really out of rhythm and second guessing what our game plan was and so everyone was on different pages. We did a much better job of making early decisions and early commitments within our game plan."

It was fourth-year Laura McManes that led the way for the Dinos on the night. She recorded a team-high 18 kills and added seven digs. Kate Pexman (14) and Jaylynn Moffatt (11) also hit double-digits for Calgary. Outside hitter Brianna Solberg recorded a game-high 16 digs while libero Kennedy Snape followed closely behind with 15 of her own. Setter Leah Shevkenek added 42 assists in the win. 

"We had some other people pulling the offensive load tonight compared to yesterday's match," said Gurnsey. "Laura stepped up really big and so did JaylynnJaylynn plays front row with Kate and we needed to take pressure off of Kate and she did a really good job of that."

For the second night in a row, Iuliia Pakhomenko scored a game-high 31 kills in the match, along with 14 digs. Thirty-one kills puts her third on the list for kills in a single match in the conference. Genevieve Lamarre currently holds the record with 34 back in 2004. Rachel Windhorst also hit double digits in kills for Thompson Rivers with 14. Setter AbbySpratt recorded a game-high 55 assists. 
After last night's evenly matched game, the Dinos and the WolfPack continued to trade back and forth points all night long. In the first, it wasn't until 14-11 when Thompson Rivers took a significant lead. The Dinos quickly battled back from that, scoring four unanswered points to take the lead back. Tied through to 23, it was the WolfPack that strung together two points in a row to take the first set win 25-23.
In the second, the Dinos came flying out of the gates with a 5-0 start to the set forcing Thompson Rivers to call their first timeout early on. It helped, as the WolfPack pushed back and capitalized on some Dinos miscommunication to tie it at six, and again at 13. After a two-point lead at the technical, the WolfPack made a big push to take the lead at 22-18. It didn't last long though, as Calgary's offence, led by McManes and Pexman pushed back to tie the game up at 22. It wasn't until 27-25 that the Dinos put together two points in a row to tie the match up at 1.
The third went as the first two sets went, seeing both teams trade points and leads through to 19 all. It wasn't until after a timeout that the Dinos were able to pull away with the 25-21 win to go up 2-1 in the match. Pexman and McManes had both recorded 11 kills for the Dinos.
In the final set of the match, the Dinos looked to have a solid lead down the stretch, but the WolfPack didn't make it easy. Two aces from the visitors tied the game up at 24 all and it came down to some key blocks from Moffatt to solidify the win in extra points. Calgary went on to finish the match with a 28-26 fourth set victory. 
The Dinos head up north to Edmonton to take on the MacEwan Griffins next weekend while the WolfPack take on the Trinity Western Spartans in Langley, B.C.