By Larry Read
TRU Sports Information Officer
Kamloops BC: The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack proved that they can play with the 'big boys' in Canada West men's volleyball. The WolfPack lost a 3-1 decision to the top ranked team in USports: the University of Alberta Golden Bears.
But the 'Pack hung tight with Alberta. The scores on the Warner Rentals court at the Tournament Capital Centre on Saturday night (Oct 29) were 25-18,18-25,25-17,27-25.
The Bears were given a scare in the both the second and third sets. Alberta had 16 service errors in comparison to TRU's 13. Alberta was led by Ryan Nickifor (5th year, outside hitter, Sherwood Park, AB) for the second straight night. He had 17 kills in 38 swings. TRU's main offensive weapon was Tim Edge (3rd year, outside hitter, Langley, BC). Edge had 11 kills in 25 chances.
Ryan Nickifor (Sherwood Park,AB) 17 kills in 38 swings , dix digs, four block assists and one service ace
Chris Towe (Caledon, ON) 13 kills in 29 chances, three digs, three assists
Alex McMullin (Brisbane, AUS) 10 kills in 21 opportunities: two service aces, two digs, two block assists
Brett Walsh (Calgary, AB) 49 assists, one service ace, three digs
Tim Edge (Langley, BC) 11 kills in 25 chances one dig, one block assit
Randy Grundmann (Winnipeg, MB) 8 kills on 21 chances, four digs, two solo blocks and two block assists
Tyler Pomietlarz (Kelowna, BC) 31 assists, four digs, one block assist)
Alberta 2-0 TRU 0-2
TRU interim head coach Mike Hawkins:
On his team's better showing in this match: "After the way things went last night (a 3-0 loss to Alta), it would have been really easy to come into tonight and expect the same result. For a young team we showed a lot of resolve. Even though they jumped on us in the first set, we did a great job bouncing back. It was a pretty good brawl."
On the fourth set battle and using it to prepare for Brandon next week: "A set like that in a match like this shows our guys of what we are capable of. Alberta is certainly a strong team. They are the number one team in the country but they are also a very veteran team. You expect them to be quite good at the beginning of the season. For us as a young group and developing, to have this sort of effort and result show us that even though we didn't get the result, we have improved but there is a long way to go.
Alberta assistant head coach Brock Davidiuk:
On Match: "We did some things to get the win in the end but exposed a lot of things we need to work on. TRU…when they get hot, they are really good. I thought Tim Edge (3rd year, outside hitter, Langley, BC) did a really good job. A lot better job tonight in just getting the outside pans of our block. I thought that was something that I learned tonight. TRU…I want us to do what they are doing in just hitting the outside hands. I thought they did that really well.
On early season intensity by both teams in fourth set: " This will help us down the line. That's one of the strengths of Canada West. A lot of teams go through the 'grinder'. A lot of Canada West teams go to Nationals experiencing the pressure of a single elimination scenario. They know what they are doing. It is very advantageous to being able to survive. You want to have your athletes pushed to the limit. "
TRU Middle Sam Taylor Parks (2nd year, Kelowna, BC):
On match: "It felt really good. Obviously we didn't get the outcome we wanted but it felt like we were connected and flowing. Eventhough we didn't win, we can take that positive feeling into next week"
On fourth set battle: " We didn't want to give up and let them have it (the match) easily.
Next week (Nov 4-5), Alberta is idle while the WolfPack pay a visit to Brandon to take on the Bobcats. Next home match for the WolfPack will be Friday, November 11th when they will meet up with the Mount Royal University Cougars. Game time will be 7:45pm.