KAMLOOPS — It's been a tough start to the season for the WolfPack. Shutout 3-0 in their last three matches, and with just one win six games into the season.
"It's just been being able to put forth the same consistent — I'm not going to say effort, but follow the game plan, stick with it," says coach Chad Grimm. "We don't have a lot of terminators on the team, so we have to get into these long rallies where you have to be good at doing your job all the time. That's been tough for us to do all the time on back-to-back nights every weekend."
The WolfPack have shown steady improvement since Grimm took over as head coach, now in his fifth season.
But a team on the move, they may have to take a step back in re-loading this season, for a number of reasons. They're young. No fifth years, six players fresh out of high school. They've lost 80 per cent of their offence from last season. Including Yevgeniya Nyukhalova — the Canada West leader in kills last season — who is on medical red shirt maternity leave this season. It means creating a whole new dynamic.
"My first few years we've had really strong left side hitters, where we could get a lot of points," says Grimm. "But we haven't been diverse enough, we haven't had that scoring out of the middle part of the court. So we were fairly easy to play against because they (opponents) knew what was coming from that side of the court."
In Anna Muzyka and Abby Spratt — some little bit older setters in trying to spread the offence around the court.
Grimm says it will take some lumps in the beginning, but to be a good team, they're going to have to do that.
"I think we're just trying to find ourselves," says third year setter Abby Spratt. "More next year, or the year after, when we've had more time playing with each other, getting used to each other and the connections are there, we're hoping for a better outcome for sure."
"I think we need to work on putting the other team in trouble, rather than trying to kill the ball. "
"At the end of the day we need to get better," says Coach Grimm. "Obviously the hope is that comes with results. But if it doesn't I don't want just do things that will help us win a match or two here and there — when we need to get better at a lot of things in order to be better next year and the year after. So I don't want to throw it all in just to get a couple of extra wins, when we need to get better in some areas."
With no fifths and only one fourth — and the rest third year or younger — the hope is to get better this year, through some growing pains, and then get in a position where they're competing.
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