(ISN) – Kamloops, BC—For the ninth time this Canada West season, the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack women’s volleyball team went to five sets.
Sadly for the fifth time, the WolfPack fell in that deciding set.
Playing Saturday (Jan 17) on the Warner Rentals Court at the Tournament Capital Centre, the WolfPack (7-13) fell to the number two ranked team in the CIS—The University of British Columbia Okanagan Heat 3-2. The Heat (16-4) won by scores of 25-12,21-25,25-15,23-25,15-10.
Heat coach Steve Manuel thought it was a character building match for both sides. “The WolfPack have improved so much. Chad (Grimm, TRU head coach), Nathan (Bennett, TRU assistant coach) and Robbyn (Dalin, TRU assistant coach) have done a great job. They are so tough to play. They keep coming. They are making smart decisions and making the right play at the right time to keep you off balance. We are a streaky team. It is not uncommon for us. We know we are going to be like that. TRU put us off balance more than normal.”
” You look at the way we started the match and how we ended it—it was two completely different teams,” said Grimm. ” It is tough to dig yourself a hole and get out of it and that is what we did tonight. It was good after such a poor start in the first set. We could have thrown in the towel but I thought the girls did a good job of battling in the second. Another tough set in the third and we battled back in the fourth. In the fifth, I thought we battled hard but got behind early.”
UBCO was led by Brianna Beamish (fourth year, outside hitter, Surrey, BC) with 18 kills in 40 chances with three digs and two block assists. Katy Klomps (fourth year middle, Surrey, BC) had 14 kills in 23 attempts with a service ace, three digs, a solo block and nine block assists.
Emily Oxland (third year, setter, North Vancouver, BC) had 41 assists and 10 digs for the Heat. Kailin Jones (fourth year, libero, Kelowna, BC) added 11 digs.
The WolfPack was led by Iuliia Pakhomenko (third year, outside hitter, Donetsk, Ukraine) with 21 kills in 47 chances with a service ace, 1 digs and a block assist.
Katarina Legutky (first year, outside hitter, Calgary, AB) had 12 kills in 28 opportunities with 13 digs. She was named the “TRU Bookstore/McDonalds Leader of the Pack” Player of the Match.
“I thought Kat did an excellent job coming off the bench,” said Grimm. ” She came in when we were struggling a bit on reception. I put Alyssa (Wolf, fourth year, outside hitter/libero, Surrey, BC) back to libero. Kat came in for Tyneille (Neufeld, first year, outside hitter/libero, Winnipeg, MB) and came on strong defensively. She helped turn the course of the match around.”
Morgan Kolasa (second year, middle, Calgary, AB) added six kills in 15 chances with 2 service aces, three digs and three block assists.
Kara Twomey (third year, setter, Winnipeg, MB) had 38 assists with eight digs one solo block and one block assist.
Manuel says UBCO will take the sweep over TRU and build upon it. “We are still juggling our line ups. We started three different people this weekend who didn’t play the week previously. We have a number of good players. We are still working on the chemistry with different groups. We are giving people time so we are healthy down the stretch and no one is overused. It might hurt us for a point or two. But honestly, no matter which group we put out there, they play really well.”
Grimm says the chances of the ‘Pack making the post season took a major hit with the two losses to the Heat. ” One of these last two matches here had to be a must win. At the end of the day, we need to find a level of consistency. These last two weekends (Mount Royal and Saskatchewan), we have the chance to sweep. We haven’t swept at all this year. I think our focus has to be going point by point every night. I think our focus tonight was much better than it was on Thursday (a 3-1 loss at UBCO).”
The WolfPack will stay at home to host the Mount Royal Cougars next weekend (January 23-24) at the Tournament Capital Centre. UBCO has a bye next week.