Kamloops, BC—The playoff picture for the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack and the University of Saskatchewan Huskies remain in doubt after the weekend.
The two teams split their weekend Canada West women's volleyball series at the Tournament Capital Centre. After the WolfPack beat the Huskies 3-2 on Friday night (Jan 15), Saskatchewan came back and took the rubber game of the series on Saturday (Jan 16) 3-1.
The scores on the Warner Rentals Court were 25-22,25-22,18-25,26-24. Both teams have a record of 7-9.
"It was another good battle which went to the bitter end and thankfully we came out on the positive side," said Huskies coach Mark Dodds.
Dodds felt their improved serving was a key to the victory. "Definitely the serve average was a lot lower than yesterday. We forced them to earn all their points which makes it a lot tougher. We are playing pretty good team defense. It becomes very difficult for teams to get points against us when we make them work hard for them."
Saskatchewan was led by Emmalyn Copping (4th year, left side Calgary, AB) with 17 kills in 50 chances with three digs and two block assits. Taylor Annala (1st year, outside hitter, Dinsmore, SK) had 13 kills in 31 opportunities with three service aces, and seven digs.
"They got out to big leads in the first and second set and we battled back to make it closer than it was," explained TRU head coach Chad Grimm. "I thought the third and fourth sets we battled and the chips fell where they may. It is hard to come back after getting down 2-0."
Grimm made a switch after the first set as he took out Katie Woo (4th year, setter, Surrey, BC) and replaced her with Robyn Froese (4th year, setter, Red Deer, AB). Froese wound up with 34 assists, two service aces, nine digs and one block assist.
"She came in and performed well," said Grimm. "She hadn't had much of a chance to get in there until today. It wasn't anything that Katie was doing. We just couldn't pass the ball. The change was made to switch the momentum around. Robyn did well and stayed in the game which was nice to see. For the most part she was calm and made some great plays defensively."
The WolfPack's main offensive threat was Iuliia Pakhomenko (4th year, outside hitter, Donetsk, Ukraine). She had 22 kills in 49 opportunities with two service aces, and 14 digs. Alyssa Wolf (5th year, libero, South Surrey, BC) had 11 digs and 3 assists.
"I thought Iuliia was good tonight," said the WolfPack coach. "A little unfortunate that they got a stop on her late. In the first set, she was the only person who was focused and ready to go with some energy. That was great. She had her ups and downs like everybody else like yesterday. But she came today ready to play."
Pahomenko was named the "TRU Bookstore/MacDonalds Leader of the Pack Player of the Game."
Going .500 at home isn't going to help the Pack make the post season according to Grimm. "if we want to get over the hump and come out with more urgency. I don't think splits at home are good enough for our group anymore. At the beginning of last year that was OK. But I think when we squeak one out last night and we don't play well and tonight we dig ourselves a hole, that isn't good enough."
The WolfPack hit the road next week (Jan 22-23) and visit the Cougars in Regina. The Huskies return home to entertain the Mount Royal Cougars.
Next home match for TRU will be Friday January 29th at the TCC when they host the University of Manitoba Bisons.