KAMLOOPS, BC— Winning their tenth straight match the UBC Okanagan women’s volleyball squad put a hard battling Thompson Rivers University WolfPack away in three sets on ‘Ken Olynyk Recognition night’.
Heat, The number one team in U SPORTS, swept the home WolfPack in straight sets on Saturday night in Canada West play on the Warner Rentals court at the Tournament Capital Centre (25-16,26-24,25-20).
The Heat jumped out to an early lead. TRU tied it at five in the first set before UBCO jumped out to a 10-6 lead prompting WolfPack head coach Chad Grimm to call a time out. The Pack battled back but were down 16-14 going into the first technical time out. Erin Drew (5th year, middle, Kelowna, BC) and Michelle Jakszuk (5th year, outside hitter, Gibsons, BC) each had three kills leading UBCO to a first set 25-16. Victory. Rachel Windhorst (4th year, outside hitter, Surrey, BC) had four kills to lead Thompson Rivers.
In the second set, a 2-2 tie was broken when Siobhan Fitzpatrick (4th year, outside hitter, Kelowna, BC) went on a serving run and led UBCO to a 7-2 lead before Grimm called another time out to try and break the momentum. It succeeded after a long rally between the two teams. After battling back, the WolfPack took their first lead of the set at 15-14 and added the extra point to take it into the technical time out. The teams continued to battle point for point, with UBCO taking the last two points. To win 26-24.
The third set was another battle with the teams exchanging points. UBCO pulling ahead with four straight points to head into the time out leading 16-12. The WolfPack weren’t able to get any closer and fell 25-20. Aidan Lea (3rd year, middle, Kelowna, BC) led the Heat in the set with five kills on seven swings.
Special night in Kamloops
Following the match, the WolfPack honored their now retired Athletics and Recreation director Ken Olynyk. The Presidents Cup (which goes to the winner of all the Canada West battles between TRU and UBCO in soccer, volleyball and basketball) was handed out as well. Thompson Rivers winning both the men’s and the women’s titles this year.
Heat coach Steve Manuel:
On match: “I thought both teams did some really great things tonight. At times, both made errors. I didn’t think it was a particularly good serving match on either side. I know the WolfPack have some tough servers but they weren’t quite on tonight. I felt the same with us. All in all, another win on the road for us. We will take it.”
One week left in the regular season, do you like where your team is sitting?” Yes I do. We are still getting better every day. We are trying to take a bit of time off and rest. We had an incredibly tough road laden second half of the season. We are back to Manitoba for the second time in three weeks. Working on a few things and trying to stay healthy.”
Who stood out for you? ” I liked the job our setter did tonight. Sara did a nice job of moving the ball around. I thought Ann Richards stepped up well on the right side. A lot of others had a steady job and things worked out quite well.”
TRU head coach Chad Grimm:
On Match: “I thought we battled. Nothing came easy for us tonight. It wasn’t a smooth game but the girls didn’t give up. The last two sets were tight. We had chances in both those sets but didn’t go our way. But we battled.”
On having younger players get experience against a top ranked team: “These games don’t mean anything in the standings. But they mean something playing quality opponents like UBCO and next weekend against Trinity Western. Two, big strong physical teams. It is kind of a measuring stick and it gives girls a chance to play in spots which they might be in next year.”
On players who stood out: ” I thought Ana did a good job distributing the ball I thought Kendra had a great match starting at libero and switching out to the outside hitting spot. That was nice to see her do well. I thought Lomas was outstanding in the middle. She was effective both on attack and on the block. When I put Kendra to the outside, Hali (Drezet, 2nd year, libero, Prince George, BC) came in. She struggled in her last performances and I thought she did a good job. It was nice for her to bounce back.”
~ With notes from Larry Read, Thompson Rivers Sports Information