If there’s a team at Thompson Rivers University who’s development is on a fast track, it would be women’s volleyball.
After going 0-44 for two seasons, the WolfPack women’s volleyball program has gone 15-21 since then. They enter the Canada West Christmas break sitting in a tie for sixth place. Their 5-7 record would have them in the post season for the second time in their history.
“I think our team grew in the first half and are beginning to reach a level of maturity that will allow us to be successful, “said head coach Chad Grimm. “Overall, we have put ourselves in a position to compete for a playoff spot after the break, now we just need to take care of business and put in the necessary work over the next month in order to get where we want to go after Christmas.”
The WolfPack’s first half could best be described as like an ocean, after losing their first two matches they rebounded to win three in a row, then lost three, won two and finished up with a pair of losses to one of the top teams in the nation: the UBCO Heat.
Grimm looks at his team’s performance like this: “I would have liked to have been at .500 going into the break and think we were capable of that, but this is a tough league that doesn’t allow you to take any nights for granted. I think we are still learning this.”
He added: “I liked the fact that we gave ourselves a chance in almost every match. We had a bit of a bump in the road one night against UBCO where we just couldn’t find our way. Overall, I think we are giving ourselves a chance to win night in and night out.”
Statistically, Iuliia Pakhomenko (4th year, outside hitter, Donetsk, UK) leads the Canada West and the entire nation in kills per set (4.91) and kills (226). She was a Canada West and CIS all-star last year and is on pace to repeat that feat.
Alyssa Wolf (5th year, libero/outside hitter, South Surrey, BC) sits second in digs (161) and third in digs per set (3.58). Nationally, she is seventh in kills.
“I think Alyssa has done a great job in her first full season as a libero,” Grimm states. “She has adjusted well to a new position in her last year of university volleyball.”
Katie Woo (4th year, setter, Surrey, BC) is third in assists per set (9.48). Woo is fourth in the country in that stat as well.
As he looks ahead to the second half of the season: “We need to play consistent volleyball and value the ball a bit more when we are in possession of it. I think we have enough skill to make the necessary plays, we just need to be a bit more urgent with our movement when we don’t have the ball as sometimes we get caught watching the game a bit too much.”
The WolfPack return to regular season play on Friday, January 8th in Calgary against the Mount Royal University Cougars. On paper, it will be a battle for sixth place as both teams have identical records (5-7) after the first half.
The next home match for TRU will be Friday, January 15th on the Warner Rentals Court at the Tournament Capital Centre. Their opponents will be the University of Saskatchewan Huskies. Game time will be 6 pm.
NOTE: Two of the WolfPack recruits: Mikayla Funk (Surrey, BC-Pacific Academy) and Hali Drezet (Prince George, BC-Duchess Park Secondary) were named all-stars at their respective provincial high school tournaments.
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