Lindsay Franco, Multimedia and Communications Specialist
CALGARY – The visiting Thompson Rivers WolfPack stormed back from a first set loss to defeat the No. 4 University of Calgary Dinos on their home court by a score of 3-1 (20-25, 26-24, 25-19, 25-17) on Jan. 5. The Dinos' record now sits at 8-3, while the WolfPack improve to 6-5.
Last year's Player of the Year Iuliia Pakhomenko had an impressive 31 kills in the match to lead her team to victory. Rachel Windhorst also hit double digits with 10 kills and seven digs. Both Mikayla Funk and Kendra Finch recorded 17 digs in the match. Setter Abby Spratt added a game-high 51 asssts.
For the Dinos, outside hitter Kate Pexman added a team-high 19 kills and 11 digs. Brianna Solberg led the team in digs with 12 on the night, while setter Leah Shevkenek added 37 assists.
The two evenly matched teams battled all night long at Jack Simpson Gym. In the first, it wasn't until after the technical timeout that the Dinos began to run away with the opening set of the match. Winning 25-20, Pexman led the home team with five kills while three of Dinos contributed with two kills each. Pakhomenko added six kills for the WolfPack early on.
Early in the second set, it was evident that it would be a hard hitting match on both sides of the net. Both teams traded leads and stayed within a point or two of each other. Despite a 16-15 Dinos lead at the technical, the teams remained tied from 17 points all the way to 24. It was Thompson Rivers that came out with the 26-24 extra points win, with a killer attack from the back row from the 2015-16 Player of the Year.
The WolfPack really found their groove in the third set when they took a four point lead at 13-9, forcing Gurnsey to call a timeout. Thompson Rivers was able to hold down that four-point lead after the mid-set break, and ran away with it 25-19 to take a 2-1 lead.
Despite a slow start in the fourth, the Dinos rallied back to tie the game up at 10. Their gusto didn't last long though, as the WolfPack earned a 14-12 lead, forcing Gurnsey to use her first timeout of the set. From there, Thompson Rivers scored another five unanswered points thanks to some miscommunications and errors from the Dinos' side of the court. They went on to finish off the match 25-17.
The Dinos and the WolfPack will rematch tomorrow night in the second match of the opening series of 2017. First serve is set for 6 p.m.