CALGARY – After refuelling over the holiday break, the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack travelled to Calgary to take on the Mount Royal University Cougars. The two teams were pretty evenly matched up when looking at stats. In the end, it was the WolfPack that took the match on night one, winning three sets to one. The final scores were 25-19, 21-25, 25-17 and 29-27.
The WolfPack's leader in attacks was Dobbert racking up a total of 15 attacks over the four sets. The Cougars leader was close behind, Lightfoot with a total of 13. The Cougars led in team blocks totalling 12.5 while the WolfPack trailed behind at 9.5 However the WolfPack were more consistent in serving with a total serve percentage of 0.848 compared to the Cougars 0.775. Other stand out players include Cougars Schmidt and WolfPack's Mullaney.
The WolfPack took an early lead over the Cougars in the first set as they started with the serve. After pulling ahead five points, the Cougars called a timeout at a score of 6-11. The WolfPack maintained their lead with a strong attacker in middle, Parks. At the technical timeout, the WolfPack remained in the lead 16-12 over the Cougars. Following the technical timeout, the Cougars called another timeout of their own, as WolfPack's Dobbert was having great success from the right side. The Cougars setter, Greves ran into the official table to save a ball, setting the pace for the rest of his team. Unfortunately, they were unable to shut down WolfPack's Dobbert, and the WolfPack took the first set with a final score of 25-19.
Coming out strong in the second set the Cougars were the first to take a lead. They pulled ahead 10-7. The Cougars success came from strong hands in the front row, getting a touch on nearly every attack. A power kill from Cougars Lightfoot made the technical timeout score 16-13. The WolfPack were unable to gain ground on the Cougars as they continued to block, and throw down strong attacks of their own. The WolfPack called a timeout as the score hit 19-15. Unfortunately for the WolfPack, the timeout didn't stop the Cougars from getting the next triple block. After an attack error, the WolfPack called a second timeout falling behind 21-15. With three attack errors from the Cougars, the WolfPack found themselves back in the game with a score of 19-22. The Cougars called their first time out of the game when the WolfPack closed the gap leaving only a two-point lead for the Cougars at 23-21.The WolfPack missed their serve following the timeout, and the Cougars sealed the deal with a triple block, winning the second set 25-21.
After winning a set each, both teams started the third set slowly. A series of four missed serves set the pace for the set. The set continued to go point-for-point between the two teams, with attack errors on both sides. The Cougars called a time out as the WolfPack pulled ahead for the first time 11-9. The WolfPack were able to extend their lead with a score of 16-12 at the technical time out. The Cougars struggled keeping a consistent rhythm in the front row, and called a timeout when the WolfPack pulled ahead 20-15. Ultimately the Cougars were unable to correct their attack errors, and the WolfPack won the third set 25-17.
After a slow third set, the Cougars came out ready to play in the fourth. The set started out point-for-point, Cougars cautious of attack errors. When the WolfPack led 7-5 the Cougars called the first timeout of the game. Unfortunately, the timeout did not end in their favour as the WolfPack came back out fighting, extending their lead 12-8. The Cougars knew this was a do or die situation and quickly fought back closing the gap. The WolfPack called a timeout as the Cougars were within one-point 13-12. The Cougars took advantage of the timeout scoring the next four points. They led 16-13 at the technical time out. Both teams were determined to get the win. Points went back and forth with strong attacks and digs from both teams. The WolfPack took the win on an attack from Dobbert for a final score of 29-27, also taking the match win.
WolfPack assistant coach, Cameron Secret said, " A win is a win and those have been hard to come by for us lately. The break really helped to refresh the players and clear their heads. Going into tomorrows match I would like to see a more consistent level of game play and focus. We came out strong in the first and slowly lost it."
The two teams will face off again tomorrow Jan. 6, 2018 at 4 p.m. on Kenyon Court. After a close fought battle can the Cougars pull out a win for a split weekend? Be sure to tune in to find out.