This past weekend at the TCC marked the start of what looks to be a great season for TRU volleyball. Both the men’s and women’s teams kicked off their season at home facing Grant MacEwan University.
The WolfPack came into the weekend hungry for wins in front of the home crowd after both came up short last weekend during their first official games of the season in Edmonton. A home crowd numbering close to 600 people gave the WolfPack the push they needed to come away winning three out of the four games played during the weekend.
“It is always important to get off to a good start at home,” said women’s head coach Chad Grimm. The women most definitely did get off to a good start, winning Friday’s match in just three sets against the MacEwan Griffins. “Of course we have pressure,” our fans are here and “we don’t want to disappoint them,” said Iuliia Pakhomenko about playing home opener games. But this pressure did not seem to hinder the team on its way to victory.
Iuliia Pakhomenko stood out in the first match with 16 kills and 16 digs earning herself the McDonald’s player of the game Leader of the Pack recognition. According to Grimm, “Katie Woo and Krista Hogewoning combined well to provide some threat” as well, and played a great game setting up Iuliia Pakhomenko and Alina Sopizhuk for a majority of the points scored.
The men were also able to pull away with a win on Friday but were forced to use more of their bench to achieve the victory. When asked about this strategy, men’s head coach Pat Hennelly revealed “we struggled a little bit early and had a big lull in the second set … [we] had to make a lot of changes but it worked.” Utilizing new talent from players, especially first years Sam Taylor Parks and Charlie Bringloe, as well as second year Tyler Pomietlarz, gave the team the push they needed to come away with a three sets to one victory.
On Saturday a similar pattern was shown with the women’s team starting slow but warming up to dominate the game. A lapse in concentration led to a MacEwan win in the third set but this did not deter a three sets to one WolfPack triumph. The ‘Pack almost doubled MacEwan in points for two out of the four sets and appear to be solid coming into what looks to be a promising season.
The men’s second game of the weekend was a struggle and also saw the deep use of both veteran and newer players. Graham Stoliker greatly assisted in the team’s efforts with 24 assists, while Randy Grundmann had 9 kills and was awarded the Mcdonald’s player of the game, but their efforts were not enough to stop a three sets to one MacEwan victory.