By Larry Read
TRU Sports Information Officer
KAMLOOPS, BC—The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack women's volleyball team closed out the home portion of their 2018-19 Canada West regular season with a four set loss to the visiting University of Saskatchewan Huskies. The scores were 25-21,25-22,16-25,26-24.
The match was played at the old TRU Gym due to a scheduling conflict at the Pack's regular home base: the Tournament Capital Centre.
The victory was a big one for the Huskies who are still mathatically in the playoff picture. The Pack are still back to .500 at 11-11. Saskatchewan is 9-13.
Saskatchewan was led offensively by Emily Koshinsky with 21 kills. Olga Savenchuk had 19 for the WolfPack. The team split their weekend series as the Pack won on Friday night.
The Huskies took the first set as they got six kills from their chief offensive weapon Emily Koshinksky (3rd year, outside hitter, Jansen, SK). Gabriella Podloski (3rd year, outside hitter, Grande Prairie, AB) had four kills for TRU.
The WolfPack jumped out to a strong start in the second set but the Huskies clawed back and went into the technical time out up one (16-15). Koshinsky and Georgia Hurry (5th year, middle, Summerland, BC) each had three kills in that set to propel Saskatchewan to the victory. The Huskies won the set despite being out dug (45-43 at that point) and had more service errors than Thompson Rivers (8-6).
TRU head coach Chad Grimm shuffled his line up for the third set replacing Lizzy Reimer (1st year,middle, Edmonton, AB) with Hayley McNaught (1st year, middle, Woking AB). It seemed to spur his troops on as they jumped to a big lead. They were up 16-11 at the time out. McNaught had three kills in four swings while Olga Savenchuk (1st year, outside hitter, Donetsk,Ukraine) added five kills in that set while Kendra Finch (4th year, outside hitter, North Vancouver,BC) added four.
The momentum gained by the WolfPack in that set propelled them into the next period and they led quite handily 16-9 going into the break. But the Huskies battled back to cut the deficit to tie it up at 20. When Olivia Mattern (1st year, outside hitter, Saskatoon, SK) found a seam and fired the ball into the open court to make it 24-22, Grimm was forced to take a second time out of the set. The teams went to extra points before the Huskies came away with the set and match victory.
THEY SAID IT (post match quotes):
TRU head coach Chad Grimm:
"I thought Sask was better. They were a little more despirate than we were unfortunately. In the end, we didn't serve the ball well enough to win. We missed too many. Last night, we put them into a lot of trouble with our serves. Tonight, we gave them too many free points."
On switching Reimer for McNaught: " It was a rookie for a rookie. Hayley brings some offensive power and she brought that tonight. Maybe taking a little pressure off our wing hitters. She came in and did a good job."
COACHES POST GAME VIDEO INTERVIEW: click here
Saskatchewan head coach Mark Dodds (4th season):
On match: " It was a good battle. I thought both teams played a bit better tonight than last night. Both teams got used to the gym and tonight was a little better volleyball. I am happy we came out on top. We certainly passed a lot better. We also blocked a lot better and made better decisions on who we were going to focus on. Last night, we got scrambly and running around. We gave them a few holes to capitalize on."
COACHES POST GAME VIDEO INTERVIEW: click here
The teams will close out their Canada West regular seasons next weekend (Feb 15-16). The Huskies will be at home to the Mount Royal Cougars while the WolfPack visit Kelowna, BC and the University of British Columbia Okanagan Heat.
They are the final two matches in the "President's Cup" competition between the two schools. Thompson Rivers leads after sweeping in basketball, getting a win and a tie in soccer and losing in cross Country.
OF NOTE: The WolfPack honored Carly Gunter (Courtenay, BC) after the match. She played four years for Thompson Rivers (2014-18) before graduating. She was presented with her uniform in a letterbox and a personalized poster by head coach Chad Grimm. Saskatchewan men's coach Nathan Bennett and his wife Robyn were presenters as well. Both were assistant coaches with the 'Pack during Gunter's time as a player. Grimm stated, " Carly was an instrumental part of our program from 2014-2018 as she was a major contributor in helping shift the culture of the program. Carly exemplified work ethic, organizational skills, dedication and generosity during her time with our team. Her commitment to the program has been missed but I know with Carly's personality and skill set she will be successful in any endeavour she chooses to seek. We thank Carly for her dedication and contributions in helping solidify what it means to play for the WolfPack!"