Langley, BC—The season is over for the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack women’s volleyball team. The WolfPack, making their second playoff appearance since they joined the Canada West a decade ago, fell in two straight matches to the defending national champion Trinity Western University Spartans.
After losing 3-1 on Thursday (Feb 25), the WolfPack dropped game two of their best of three quarter final Friday (Feb 26) at the Langley Events Centre. Again it was a 3-1 decision. The scores were 22-25,25-20,25-21,25-21. The Spartans now move to the Canada West final four next week in Kelowna, BC.
“I thought we battled with more intensity than last night,” said WolfPack head coach Chad Grimm. “We were very tight defensively, we did a good job and never gave up.
Grimm was proud of his team. “ Trinity Western is a fine experienced team. We kept with them down the stretch. We learned a lot from this series which we will utilize going forward. We didn’t run away and hide. We pushed them every step of the way.”
After wanting to get more offensive production from his middle’s, Grimm got that in this match. Morgan Kolasa (3rd year, Calgary, AB) had seven kills in 24 chances with four digs and three block assists. Amy Norman (4th year, Dawson Creek, BC) had seven kilsl in 13 swings with nine digs and six block assists.
“They were very efficient,” the coach said. “Krista (Hogewoning, 5th year, outside hitter, Delta, BC) had a good game. Trinity was stack blocking Iullia (Pakhomenko, 4th year, outside hitter, Donetsk, Ukraine) which left Krista open and she took advantage.
Hogewoning had 14 kills, 10 digs and four blocks to lead the way offensively for TRU. Pakhomenko wound up with eight kills in 42 chances with12 digs.
Hogewoning was playing her final university match as were Katie Woo (4th year, setter, Surrey, BC), Brianne Rauch (4th year, outside hitter, Kimberley, BC) and Alyssa Wolf (5th year, libero, South Surrey, BC).
Woo had 37 assists and 12 digs. Rauch finished with nine kills in 19 chances and 11 digs, two service aces and two block assists. Wolf had 17 digs.
“All four girls played a prominent role tonight,” Grimm explained “I was super happy with the way they contributed. They finished their university careers as major contributors tonight and during the season. They should be proud that they have left this program in a better place than when they arrived. I told all of them that as they move into the ‘alumni’ role they should hold their heads up and be proud. I know they will still contribute to the program in the future.”
Trinity Western was led by Eli Wendel (Caronport, SK) and Sophie Capreentier (Ottawa, ON). Both had 16 kills apiece. Nikki Cornwall (3rd year, setter, Coquitlam, BC) had 37 assists while rookie libero Brie O’Reilly (Langley, BC) had a game high 21 digs. O’Reilly is the younger sister of former TRU player Denham.
Following their first .500 season in school history and a playoff series where they won two sets (their previous post season experience in 2010-11 saw them swept in two straight matches by Alberta), The WolfPack under Grimm are making strides forward. “We weren’t a team that you could walk over. We made Trinity work for their two wins. We didn’t give up and I am sure their coach would agree we made them work for the wins.”
The future looks bright for the TRU program. Pakhomenko will return in 2016-17 for her fifth and final year of university volleyball as the Canada West and CIS top kills per set and kills leader. New faces on the roster will include former CIS first team all-star Rachel Windhurst (who redshirted this season after coming to Thompson Rivers from St. Mary’s AUAA) and highly touted high school recruits Sarah Dobinson (Whitby, Ontario), Mikayla Funk (Surrey, BC) and Hallie Dezet (Prince George, BC).
(With help from Trinity Western University Sports Information).