By Larry Read
TRU Sports Information Officer
The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack got a lesson in playing consistent volleyball as the curtain raised on the 2016-17 Canada West women's volleyball regular season. Playing at the Tournament Capital Centre in Kamloops, The WolfPack saw a 10-1 fifth set lead evaporate and they fell to the number two ranked team in USport: the University of Alberta Pandas 3-2. The scores were 13-25,25-19,25-18.24-26,16-14..
The WolfPack came out strong in the first set and took advantage of some tentative Alberta play. The Pandas came back and took the next two sets. TRU erased an Alberta lead to win the fourth set. But in the fifth, TRU led 10-1 before letting it slip away.
Rachel Windhorst 14 kills in 35 chances 1 service ace, 10 digs, two block assists
Kendra Finch 13 kills in 46 swings 1 service ace, 17 digs, two block assists
Abby Spratt 45 assists, four service aces
Iullia Pakhomenko 9 kills in 37 chances, two service aces, eight digs, seven block assists
Meg Cassault 17 kills in 47 chances, four service aces, 12 digs
Shauny Hogg 12 kills in 23 swings, three block assists
Kacey Otto 12 klls in 43 opportunities, one service ace, 10 digs, two solo blocks
Karly Janssen 10 kills in 33 chances, 10 digs, two solo blocks
Mariah Walsh 46 assists, two service aces, eight digs, one solo block and two block assists.
Alberta 1-0 TRU 0-1
TRU head coach Chad Grimm
On Match: "The first set we came out tough. Alberta had some trouble with serve and receive. It's a big space here and we took advantage of that. They came back like we knew they would in the second and the third. In the fourth, we did a good job pushing back. They had a lead and could have closed out the match but we scored a couple of big points. We let it go in the fifth."
On diversifying offense: "I think both Kendra and Rachel were pretty effective on the left side. We could have gone to our middle a bit more. Obviously Iullia started out super hot (six kills in the first set) and we went away from her. She can score for us in critical situations. We did spread out the offense which was good."
Pandas head coach Laurie Eisler:
On comeback in the fifth set: "Obviously we put ourselves in a tough spot in the fifth set. Anything is possible. If you just stick with it. You never know. We started to play better and their level came down a bit."
On difference in match: "It's hard to say. All I know on our side, we handled all of the big points really well. We kept our composure when our backs were against the wall. Losing the first set so badly, we didn't panic and didn't give up. The same thing in the fifth set, we stuck with it."
Both teams will go at it again on Saturday (Oct 29) on the Warner Rentals Court at the Tournament Capital Centre. Game time is 5 pm. Webcast on Canada West TV will begin around 4:45 pm.
Next weekend (Nov 4-5), the WolfPack will be visiting the Brandon University Bobcats while Alberta has a bye week:
OF NOTE: The "TRU Bookstore/McDonalds Leader of the Pack Player of the Match" was: Kendra Finch (2nd year, outside hitter, North Vancouver, BC) . " It was an exciting match. Definitely some nerves at the beginning with it being the home opener and a big crowd. We tried to stay calm. It was a tough one which got away. I just wanted to stay calm and do my job."