Manitoba loses hard fought game to Thompson Rivers in women's volleyball

Manitoba loses hard fought game to Thompson Rivers in women's volleyball

Written by: Kellen Taniguchi

Winnipeg, MB – The University of Manitoba Bisons women's volleyball team came up short against the Thompson Rivers WolfPack, falling in four sets 3-1 (25-22, 22-25, 18-25, 17-25) on Saturday, February 4 at the Investors Group Athletic Centre. The loss comes a day after the Bisons 3-1 loss to the Wolfpack last night, and is their eighth straight. 

With the loss, Manitoba drops to 6-14, and Thompson Rivers improves to 10-8 in conference play.

"We competed hard" Bisons head coach Jon Hykawy said. "They got probably the best player in the country, and we tried to do whatever we could do to stop her, but when she comes up with 25 kills, it's hard to come up on the winning side"

Prior to the game, Manitoba honoured the teams two seniors, with Caleigh Dobie and Sarah Klassen playing in their last regular season home game as a Bison. 

"It was a pretty emotional match for the players too" said Hykawy. "Those two players have been here for five years, and I've only been with them for five months, but they're two special players."

Iuliia Pakhomenko was a monster for Thompson Rivers, leading both sides with 25 kills in the match. Manitoba was led by Kearley Abbot's 11 kills, and Tori Studler's nine.

The visitors got out to a fast start, leading 9-5 early on, but the Bisons responded with seven unanswered points, to put them up 12-9. The run included four kills, two of which came via Sydney Booker. The remainder of the frame was competitive, with the teams exchanging points, and the lead Thompson Rivers took a 16-15 lead into the technical timeout. Manitoba was able to string some points together, to win a thrilling opening set 25-22. Tori Studler slammed down a Bison high four kills in the set, and the team came up with 22 digs, while Iuliia Pakhomenko led the visitors with five kills.

The second set started off really competitive, with the home side down 6-5, but the visitors would expand their lead to 9-5 with three consecutive points. The teams resumed exchanging points, until the score 17-12 for the Wolfpack. The Bisons rallied three points together, which featured one of Kearley Abbott's three kills in the set, to cut the lead down to just two points. The visitors didn't panic and took a late 22-18 lead, before Manitoba strung four points together, to tie the game at 22. The momentum change was thanks in large to senior Sarah Klassen, who slammed down one kill, and helped on two blocks during the four-point stretch. However, Thompson Rivers was able to score the final three points, to take the exciting second set 25-22, and Pakhomenko slammed down 8 kills within the set to lead them.

The third set saw the visitors get out to an 8-7 lead, before they converted five straight points, to give themselves a 13-7 lead. The Bisons were able to slowly cut into the deficit, but the closest they would get was within three points. Thompson Rivers would go on to score six of the final eight points, to take the third set 25-18. Kearley Abbott was able to strike for five kills for the Bisons, but Pakhomenko continued her dominance, pounding down a whopping nine kills in the set. 

The final set opened with back and forth play, with the teams exchanging points for the majority of the frame. Thompson Rivers had a slim 15-14 lead mid-way through the set, but was able to score six consecutive points, to take a late 21-14 lead. The home team responded with three straight points, including a kill by Haile Bujan to cut the lead to just 21-17. Thompson Rivers fired right back with 4 consecutive points to win the final set 25-17, with Morgan Kolasa slamming down the match point.

The Bisons are on the road during the February 10-11 weekend, and will take on the McEwan Griffins, while Thompson Rivers will host the University of Winnipeg Wesmen

Set scores:
(Bisons listed first) 25-22, 22-25, 18-25, 17-25.

Kill leaders:
MAN: Kearley Abbott (11)
TRU: Iuliia Pakhomenko (25)

Assists leaders:
MAN: Sydney Booker (34)
TRU: Abby Spratt (44)

Dig leaders:
MAN: Sydney Booker and Jocelyn Koswin (10)
TRU: Kendra Finch (16)