Posted on: October 18, 2018
Nothing like a big challenge right off the bat. That is what the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack women’s volleyball team is facing as the Canada West regular season opens up this weekend.
The WolfPack will be in Calgary to meet up with the Dinos. Calgary finished on top of the league standings last year and have a number of key players returning.
The teams meet Friday (Oct 19) and Saturday (Oct 20) night’s at the Jack Simpson Gym. The teams played last year in Kamloops where the Pack were beaten twice by Calgary. The scores were 3-0 (25-18,28-26,25-20) and 3-1 (25-22,25-17,22-25,25-17) on the Warner Rentals Court at the Tournament Capital Centre.
Date: Fri Oct 19/ Sat Oct 20 Time: 6:00 PM/ 4 PM MDT
Location: Jack Simpson Gym, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta
TRU Record last season: 7-17 (11th in league)
Calgary Record last season: 21-3 (first in league)
Important Game Notes:
The WolfPack have no fifth year players and will have to have an ‘offense’ by committee following the graduation of Rachel Windhorst (South Surrey, BC) along with the absences of Yevgeniya Nyukhalova (Severodontsk, Ukraine) and Mikayla Funk (Surrey, BC). Nyukhalova led the Canada West in kills (352) and was second in kills per set (3.74). Funk was fourth in service aces per set (0.55).
Kendra Finch (4th year, outside hitter, North Vancouver, BC) will lead the way. Newcomer Olga Savenchuk (1st year, Donetsk, Ukraine) hasn’t played Canada West volleyball but has played pro and international volleyball at high levels.
Calgary is led by Canada West player of the year Kate Pexman along with aruguably the league’s top middle in Beth Vinnell. Setter Leah Shevkanek and Kennedy Snape (Kelowna, BC) are two of the Canada West’s top players.
The Dinos were second in the Coaches pre-season poll with TRU eighth.
After the weekend, the WolfPack return home to entertain the UBC Thunderbirds in their home opener October 26th and 27th on the Warner Rentals court at the Tournament Capital Centre.
Thoughts from WolfPack head coach Chad Grimm:
On going into his sixth season opening with Calgary: “It is going to be a tough test. Calgary is the defending league champs and have a lot of returnees including Kate Pexman, the Canada West player of the year. They are experienced. They are physical. They are a strong team. They are coming off a weekend where they swept UBCO pretty handily. It will be a tough test for us. I am looking forward to us getting going and see how we do.”
On getting his crew motivated and not intimidated: “ I think it doesn’t matter who we play, with six first years on the team there will be some nerves. Especially during the first league weekend and being on the road. They know that it is not preseason anymore. There will be some jitters. We just have to work through them. On the good side, we do have some experienced people who have been around. We have also had a pretty good preseason against competition and we’ve seen Calgary, Alberta, Trinity and UBC-a lot of the top teams in the country already. I don’t think the nerves will come from who we are playing more than its just the first weekend of the regular season.”
Players to Watch:
Kendra Finch (4th year, outside hitter, North Vancouver, BC): was fourth in Canada West last season in digs per set (3.73) and overall digs (358).
Kate Pexmen (4th year, outside hitter, Calgary, AB) the Canada West player of the year led the league in kills per set (3.90)
Beth Vennell (4th year, middle, Cochrane, AB): was first in Canada West in hitting percent (.443) and was fourth in blocks (1.19)
Leah Shevkanek(5th year, setter, Calgary, AB): was fourth in assists per set in Canada West (8.87).
Kennedy Snape (4th year libero, Kelowna, BC): was fourth in Canada West in digs (342) and fifth in digs per set (3.64).
If you can’t make the game/match: watch online (pay per view) at www.canadawesttv.ca
Home game/match highlights will be available by logging onto www.gowolfpack.tru.ca