Posted on: January 10, 2019
The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack women’s volleyball team will make its first home appearance of the 2019 portion of their Canada West regular season this weekend.
Off a split with the Manitoba Bisons to start the second half of the year last weekend (Jan 4-5), the Pack will be on the champ court at the Tournament Capital Centre to meet up with the Mount Royal University Cougars.
The teams will do battle Friday and Saturday (Jan 11-12) with both matches having at 6 pm PDT start time.
It’s a battle of two squads vying for post season position with less than six weeks left in the regular campaign. Mount Royal is tied for fifth in the Canada West (7-7) while Thompson Rivers in a three way tie for seventh (6-8).
Date: Fri Jan 11 / Sat Jan 12 Time: 5 PM PDT both days
Location: Championship court, Tournament Capital Centre, Kamloops, BC
TRU Record: 6-8 (tied 7th) Last 5 matches : 3-2 at home this year 4-2
Mount Royal Record: 7-7 (tied 5th) Last year 5 matches: 2-3 on the road this year 2-4
Important Game Notes:
The WolfPack have been led offensively by Olga Savenchuk. She is fourth in Canada West in both kills (193) and kills per set (193).
Mount Royal has one player among the Canada West statistical leaders. Nataliia Klimenova (2nd year, libero, Severdonetsk,Ukraine) is fifth in the league in digs (197) while playing in 51 sets so far this year. She is from the same home town as WolfPack’s Jane Nyukhalova. Nyukhalova is sitting this year out expecting a baby.
With Abby Spratt gone for the season with an injury, Anastasiia Muzyka (2nd year, setter,Poltava, Ukraine) has taken over as the Pack’s starting setter and has 133 assists. That’s second most on the team behind Spratt (303). Hali Drezet (3rd year, libero, Prince George, BC) is third on the WolfPack in digs with 103.
The teams met last year in Calgary (Jan 5-6, 2018) with Mount Royal winning the first night 3-1 (25-19,25-21,16-25,25-17) and Thompson Rivers winning the second 3-1 (19-25,29-27,25-16,25-20).
If you can’t make the matches, they are available on a ‘pay per view’ basis on Canada West TV. James Matthews will be doing the play by play with former WolfPack player Morgan Kolasa providing the commentary both nights. Dylana Milobar will be the interview host.
Thoughts from WolfPack head coach Chad Grimm:
1 . This looks like a possible battle for playoff positions. Yes, every weekend from here on out will be a battle for playoff positioning with the tightness in the standings.
2. How do you stack up against Mount Royal? They are a tough team coming off a good split with UBC. They serve the ball extremely tough and block well so we are going to have to be tight with our execution and do a good job of keeping the ball in our setters hands.
3. What impressed you most about your team in your split in Manitoba last weekend? I think overall we played with a better level of stability. Even though we have a lot of room for growth I believe we are starting to learn how to string together a more consistent level of play.
4. When the number of young players on your roster, is there any concern that both mentally and physically that they could ‘run out of gas’ before the end of the season? No, I think this group has been committed to their fitness training and are young so I don’t think energy levels will be a problem.
5. Could you comment on how Anastasiia has grasped the starting setter position? I thought Ana did a great job this weekend of just playing the game. She did a better job of taking charge and competing in every rally which helped her teammates support her on a higher level as well. I think as she gets more comfortable with the offence and running that group the level of the team will also grow.
6. What will be the determining factor in coming away with one and maybe two wins over Mount Royal this weekend ? We need to keep the ball in play in service reception and make smart choices out of system in order to be competitive. We also need to be a bit more disciplined in our assignments in all situations as we can’t afford to pick and choose when we do our jobs.
Players to Watch:
Olga Savenchuk (1st year, outside hitter, Donetsk, Ukraine): leads the team in scoring with 223.5 points, she has the most digs (154) and 193 kills. She is second on the team with 14 service aces.
Kendra Finch (4th year, outside hitter, North Vancouver, BC): She is second on the team with 134 kills and 163 points. She has the most service aces on the Pack (20) and is second in digs (152).
Avery Pottle (3rd year, middle, Uxbridge, ON) and Gabriela Podloski (3rd year, outside hitter, Grande Prairie, AB): lead the team in solo blocks with seven
Cassidy Kitchen (3rd year, outside hitter, Terrace, BC): leads the team with 132 kills and 168 points. She averages 3.4 poins per r set. The former WolfPack recruit is second on the Cougars with 125 digs and has 195 assists.
Nicky Zalasky (5th year, middle, Bragg Creek, AB): has played in 50 sets through 14 matches and has the most service aces on the team (24). She has the most solo blocks (7) and block assists (51) and is fourth on the team in overall points (102).
Carly Davies (3rd year, right side, Terrace, BC): is second on the team with 19 service aces and 108 kills along with 143.5 points.