By Larry Read
TRU Sports Information
KAMLOOPS, BC—The season has come to an end for the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack women's volleyball team.
The Pack were swept in their final Canada West weekend series. On Saturday night (Feb 17) on the Warner Rentals court at the Tournament Capital Centre, Thompson Rivers fell 3-1 to the Trinity Westenr University Spartans.
The scores were: 25-18, 25-23,21-25,25-15.
TRU was led by Mikayla Funk (2nd year, outside hitter, South Surrey, BC) who had a game high 17 kills. Trinity Western got 13 kills off the arm of Hilary Howe (2nd year,outside hitter, Calgary, AB)
After the WolfPack opened up an early lead (4-2) in the first set, the teams see sawed getting points until Trinity Western took the lead at 9-7 and rolled to a 16-11 lead at the technical time out. Led by three kills from both Kriston Anton (3rd year, middle, Prince George, BC) and Howe, the Spartans took the opening set 25-18. TRU was led by Funk with three kills and five digs.
The second set started very similar to the first. But Thompson Rivers went on a 9-0 run to lead 16-7. Rachel Windhorst (4th year, outside hitter, Surrey, BC) serving for the entire run which included a couple of service aces. Trinity came out of the technical time out to score two of their own to threaten. That charge was thwarted by a big block from Kaitlin Lomas (5th year, middle, Ponoka, Alberta) to make it 18=9. Two back to back kills from Funk put TRU in an 11 point lead (21-10). Trinity went on a run of their own at 21-14 and narrowed the deficit to 7 (23-7) before TRU called a time out. That didn't stop the bleeding as the Spartans scored seven points in a row to cut the deficit to two (23-21), forcing WolfPack assistant coach Nathan Bennett (who was acting as head man in this match) to call his second time out of the set. That did no good as Trinity scored four more to take the set 25-23.
Thompson Rivers bounced back in the third set and battled back. Leading 15-13, they suffered a blow as Windhorst suffered an ankle injury and was helped off the court. This set was tight as well, Trinity tied things up at 19. But it was the WolfPack who prevailed 25-21 led by Funk's six kills and Yevgeniya Nyukhalova's (1st year, outside hitter, Severdontsk, Ukraine) four.
Moving to the fourth set, The WolfPack got to an early lead but by the time the teams reached 16, it was Trinity Western holding a six point lead (16-10) as they scored four straight points going into the break. Down by 10 (21-11), TRU went on a bit of a roll and cut the deficit to six (21-15) but couldn't draw any closer.
SCORES BY SET:
TRINITY WESTERN: 25 25 21 25 ---3
TRU: 18 23 25 15 ---1
Mikayla Funk: 17 kills in 36 chances, 13 digs, 2 service aces
Yevgeniya Nyukhalova :11 kills in 25 swings, 5 digs, 2 assists
Rachel Windhorst: 6 kills in 24 opportunites, 4 service aces, 7 digs
Abby Spratt (2nd year, setter, Calgary, AB): 36 assists, 6 digs, 1 service ace
Kendra Finch (3rd year,outside hitter, North Vancouver, BC): 8 digs,4 assists
Kaitlin Lomas: 4 kills in 13 swings, 3 service aces, 3 digs, 1 solo block, 2 block assists
Samantha Sonnenberg; 1 kill in 1 swing
Hilary Howe:13 kills in 37 opportunities, 4 service aces, 5 digs, 4 block assists
Katelyn Devaney: 9 kills in 23 chances, 5 service aces, 8 digs, 3 solo blocks, 4 block assists
Kristin Anton: 7 kills in 13 swings, 2 service aces, 1 dig, 4 block assists
Brie O' Reilly: 36 assists, 3 service aces
TRINITY WESTERN : 15-9 TRU: 7-17
TRU assistant head coach Nathan Bennett::
On Match: "I thought it was a good battle. Kind of disappointing when you are up 20-10 (second set) but that is volleyball. Sport happens the way it happens. Today was one of those times. I liked our response. When we were down and lost the second set. We came back in the third and showed some real grit. Especially after Rachel went down with an injury, I thought the group really came together. That is the first time this season we had that line up in the fourth set. It was a good fight. I am proud of the girls. Something to build for the future. We have a lot of good pieces coming back but we lost three tonight. Careers end but the program keeps moving forward.
COACHES POST GAME VIDEO INTERVIEW: click here
TRU Middle Kaitlin Lomas (5th year, Ponoka, AB:
On her five years: " It has been absolutely incredible. Up and down but the highs and lows of my life have been on this court and with this program. It's been awesome."
TRU Outside Hitter Rachel Windhorst (4th year, Surrey, BC):
On her experience at TRU: "It's hard to put into words. I only have positive things to say about this team, all the players I have ever played with, Chad and Nathan as coaches-amazing people. Volleyball has been amazing for me here. I will remember the day and day out experience. I will miss that. I am super grateful that I came to TRU and spent my last three years here. I hope I was a part of the program and I am super excited for its future."
Spartans head coach Ryan Hofer (13th season):
On match: "little bit of a see saw back and forth. I thought TRU had a game and they came back. Then we came back, then they came back. A little bit messy, a little scrambly but good competitive ball."
COACHES POST GAME VIDEO INTERVIEW: click here
OF NOTE: The "TRU Bookstore/McDonalds Leader of the Pack Players of the Match" were: Their three graduating players: Samantha Sonnenberg (middle, Edmonton, AB), Rachel Windhorst (outside hitter, Surrey, BC) and Kaitlin Lomas (middle, Ponoka, AB).
Two members of the WolfPack wrote their names in the Canada West record books as the season wound down. Nyukhalova cracked the top 15 for most kills in a single season with_352. Finch went into the top 10 in all time Canada West digs in a single season with 358.
Trinity Western moves into the playoffs and will meet the Alberta Pandas in the first round.