Spartans rally to take WolfPack to open final weekend of Canada West WVB

  Posted on: February 17, 2018

The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack jumped out to a 2-0 lead but couldn’t hold on as they dropped a five set decision to the visiting Trinity Western University Spartans. The scores on the Warner Rentals court at the Tournament Capital Centre were 22-25,23-25,25-19,25-22,15-10.

The victory snapped Trinity’s four match losing streak as the teams entered the final weekend of the Canada West regular season.
The Spartans were led by Hilary Howe with 18 kills. TRU’s man gun was Yevgeniya Nyukhalova with 20 kills.

Trinity Western had 17 team blocks to TRU’s 9. TRU had 11 service errors to Trinity’s 13.


The teams exchanged points until the Spartans went on a 3-0 run and jumped to a 10-7 lead prompting the WolfPack to call a time out. That didn’t stop Trinity Western as they entered the technical time out up by six (16-10). Thompson Rivers battled back and cut the six point deficit tying things up and went up by one as they went on a eight point run (21-19). That forced Spartans head man Ryan Hofer to bring his team in for a talk. That didn’t stop the Pack as they notched one more before losing service at 22-20. Mikayla Funk (2nd year, outside hiter, South Surrey, BC) at the service control on that run for TRU. That included three service aces. The Pack went onto take the set 25-22. Yevgeniya Nyukhalova (1st year, outside hitter, Severodontsk, Ukraine) led the WolfPack offense with four kills in 13 chances. Hilary Howe (2nd year, outside hitter, Calgary, AB) had four kills in 12 swings to lead Trinity Western, who had a solo block and eight block assists in the set.

Second set saw Trinity jump to a 2-1 advantage. The Pack went on a 5-0 run to go up 6-2. TRU had a two point advantage until the Spartans tied things up at 10. The teams exchanged points until Trinity scored three in a row to lead 16-14 going into the time out. They continued that run notching six in a row until it was broken by a Funk kill (18-16 TWU). The Pack then onto score six in a row prompting to Trinity to try and break the momentum by calling a time out (21-19 Pack). It succeeded.
With the WolfPack leading 23-20, a couple of wild rallies and a big block pulled Trinity back into it as they scored four straight to cut the margin to one. Before a rocket by Nykuhalova gave the Pack the set at 25-23. The Ukranian had six kills in that set.

In the third, The Spartans got off to an early 3-2 lead before the WolfPack battled back to tie things at seven. It was Trinity Western who led it by four (16-14) going into the time out. They went onto win the third set 25-19. Kriston Anton (3rd year, middle, Prince George, BC) had six kills for the Spartans in the set. The WolfPack had five service errors in the set compared to one for Trinity Western.

The Spartans jumped to a 5-1 early lead in the fourth set. TRU tied it up at six thanks to some nifty serving from Funk. The teams went back and forth until Trinity reached the 16 point mark first, leading by one (16-15). Trinity Western evened the match with a 25-22 victory.

Moving to the fifth set: The Spartans scored five of the first six points in the ‘race to 15’ including an a big double block by Anton and Howe to force TRU into a time out. The Spartans went on a 3-0 run to lead 8-3 as the team’s switched sides. The Spartans maintained their lead for the rest of the set as they went onto the victory.


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TRINITY WESTERN: 22 23 25 25 15 –3
TRU: 25 25 19 22 10 –2



Yevgeniya Nyukhalova: 20 kills in 48 swings, 12 digs
Rachel Windhorst (4th year, outside hitter, Surrey, BC):17 kills in 44 chances, 6 digs
Mikayla Funk : 9 kills in 32 opportunities, 15 digs,
Anastasiya Muzyka (1st year, setter,Poltawa, Ukraine): 41 assists, 6 digs, 5 block assists
Kendra Finch (3rd year,outside hitter, North Vancouver, BC): 15 divs


Hilary Howe: 18 kills in 50 chances, 4 digs
Kristin Anton: 12 kills in 19 opportunities, 2 service aces, 3 digs, 9 block assists
Katelyn Devaney:10 kills in 27 swings, 4 service aces, 6 digs, 1 solo block, 5 block assists
Rachel Fink: 10 digs, 7 block assists
Brie O’ Reilly: 44 assists, 10 digs, 7 block assists




TRU assistant head coach Nathan Bennett:

On Match: “It is character that we went five sets with Trinity. But I don’t think any team in this league is satisfied with just effort. I think we are a better team that we showed, especially in the last two and a half sets. We did a really good job sticking to the game plan in the first two sets. It really worked. We went away from it in the last two sets. The fifth set is just a point flip. We played well for portions of the game.”

Going away from the game plan hurt TRU: “100 percent. I hope to see a little more discipline tomorrow. Sticking to the plan and getting our service targets. We should have a better result.”


Spartans head coach Ryan Hofer (13th season):

On winning a five setter to end losing streak: “We have had a couple of losses in there that were five setters so it was nice to come away with the win.

What was the difference after being down 2-0: “We had to figure out a few things serve/receive wise. TRU did a good job of exposing some things on our side. We had to clean that up.”

On play of their middles: “Kristin came in and did a wonderful job. Katie (Katelyn Devaney) is a solid fifth year for us. We will miss her down the road.”



The WolfPack and Spartans will close out the Canada West regular season tomorrow (Sat Feb 17) on the Warner Rentals court. Match time will be 5 pm. After it, TRU will honor their three graduating players: Samantha Sonnenberg (middle, Edmonton, AB), Rachel Windhorst (outside hitter, Surrey, BC) and Kaitlin Lomas (middle, Ponoka, AB).

OF NOTE: The “TRU Bookstore/McDonalds Leader of the Pack Player of the Match” was: Lomas , who had four kills in 11 chances, five digs, a solo block and five block assists. The WolfPack operations were run by assistant coach Bennett for this match with coach Chad Grimm acting as an assistant/observer.


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