(ISN) – Kamloops,BC—After spending the last two weeks on the road, the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack are gearing up for their 2014-15 Canada West home opening weekend.
The WolfPack (1-3) will take on the number nine ranked team in the CIS—the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds (2-2). The teams will play matches Friday and Saturday (Oct 24-25) at the Tournament Capital Centre. Friday’s match has a 6 pm start time.
Head coach Chad Grimm says the first match at home is always something special. “It is the first chance for many girls on our team to play a regular season match in front of our own fans who are always very supportive of our teams. It is also a little extra special for me in that I am a UBC alumni so I have a chance to open up the season at home against my former team.”
The WolfPack have surprised a few people this year with their improved play. Grimm believes that has made it more fun for everyone involved from the players to the coaches and the fans.
Last weekend (Oct 18-19), Thompson Rivers won it’s first league match in over two years when they won a five set match with Calgary. “I think whenever you split on the road with a team ahead of you in the standings it is a positive result. We are still trying to find a higher level of stability in our game and improve each week.”
He continued: “This past weekend I think Iuliia Pakhomenko (3rd year, outside hitter, Donetsk, Ukraine) showed some good leadership down the stretch and made some clutch serves for the victory on Friday night. On Saturday the team was a bit flat but did show some grit to come back in the third set and give us a chance to lengthen the match. Tyneille Neufeld (1st year, outside hitter, Winnipeg, MB) came in at the libero position and was stable in serve receive and made some great plays defensively. Morgan Kolasa (2nd year, middle, Calgary, AB) also had a good weekend at the net and has shown some good improvement in her blocking.”
Pakhomenko is fifth in the Canada West in kills per set (3.38) and tied for third in kills (54).
Grimm outlines what they will be working on in practice this week. “Our focus has remained the same throughout this first part of the season. We are working a lot on basic skills with reception and defense and mixing in our transition game as much as we can. We believe we need to lay a strong foundation of skills before we can progress further in any other facet of the game so that has and will remain our focus in this first part of the season.”
As far as a key to beating UBC is concerned: “UBC is obviously a perennial powerhouse and no matter where they are currently in the rankings they are one of the top teams in the country. I think after the first weekend they have solidified in their play and will be a handful for anybody in our league. That being said we need to focus on our side of the net and improve on some of the things we struggled with in Calgary in order to compete.”