Pat Hennelly, the head coach of the TRU WolfPack men's volleyball team, admitted Thursday that his squad hadn't had a good week of practice.
But he was hoping that wouldn't carry over into Friday night's Canada West home-opener against the Manitoba Bisons at the Tournament Capital Centre.
It turned out that Hennelly's worst fears were realized as his WolfPack, playing in front of close to 1,000 fans, looked nervous and fell 3-0 (25-14, 25-18, 25-20) to the Bisons (4-0), who are ranked seventh in the country. The WolfPack (1-2) were No.10 when the week began.
"I was worried that we wouldn't come out with a good effort," Hennelly said in a news release. "We did not have a great week of practice.
"Manitoba executed and played as well as they had to to beat us. I don't think we were very good on any one aspect. We had a lot of guys watching instead of challenging for balls."
Manitoba was led by Chris Voth, a third-year left side from Winnipeg, who had 10 kills in 22 chances. Chris Komishon, a freshman setter from Winnipeg, had 21 assists, and third-year libero Derek Nieroda of Headingley, Man., had 12 digs.
TRU was led by Kevin Tillie, its sophomore outside hitter from Cagnes Sur Mer, France. He had 17 kills, in 47 chances, and 10 digs. Sophomore setter Colin Carson of Prince George had 32 assists.
"Manitoba was active and dug a lot of balls," Hennelly added. "We talked about doing that on our home court. I have to give credit to the Bisons because they were better than us in every facet tonight."
The teams play again tonight at 6:45.
In the women's match, the Bisons beat the WolfPack 3-1 (21-25, 25-23, 25-17, 25-17).
The unranked WolfPack (0-3) put up a gritty effort against the No. 3 Bisons (3-1)
"We won our first game of the season and that's a positive," stated WolfPack head coach Keith Lundgren in a news release. "In that first set, we made six unforced errors and two service errors. The second set saw us make six service errors and seven hitting errors. We have been working all week on our unforced errors and for the most part we did that."
Manitoba was led by Kristi Hunter, a fourth-year left side from Roblin, Man., who had 13 kills in 34 opportunities. Sam Loewen, a fourth-year setter from East St. Paul, Man., had 39 assists, wtih fourth-year left side Kate Wasyliw, who is from Russell, Man., getting 12 digs.
For TRU, Anna Dyakiewicz, a fourth-year outside hitter from Burnaby, had 14 kills in 36 chances. Fourth-year middle Kelly Asleson of Richmond had 13 kills. Denai Wouters, a second-year libero from Battleford, Sask., had 13 digs, while Kara Twomey, a freshman setter from Winnipeg, added 40- assists.
The teams meet again today, 5 p.m., at the TCC.
In Winnipeg, the TRU women's basketball team scored a 73-58 victory over the Manitoba Bisons.
TRU won this game with a 14-2 run in the first half and a 10-2 run to open the third quarter.
Kaitlyn Widsten, a fourth-year guard from Tsawwassen, led TRU with 15 points, although she only shot 4-for-14.
Manitoba guard Kayla Klassen had a game-high 25 points as she was 10-for-13 from the floor. Although in foul trouble, she brought the Bisons to within five points by scoring 10 straight points late in the third quarter.
The WolfPack (5-2) and Bisons (0-6) play again tonight in Winnipeg.
In the men's game, the Bisons scored the game's last seven points and beat the WolfPack, 80-73.
The WolfPack men, who were 73-73 with a minute to play, got 11 points and 15 rebounds from Greg Stewart.
With the game at 70-70, TRU's Chas Kok hit a three with less than two mintues to play. However, Manitoba guard Eric Garcia stuck back-to-back threes and the Bisons put it away with a couple of free throws.
Richard Reimer had 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Bisons, with Garcia finishing with 14 points.
Kok led all scorers with 24 points and also had nine rebounds.
The Bisons (6-1) and WolfPack (0-8) meet again tonight.