Wednesday July 09, 2014






TRU women's teams preparing for playoffs

Hugo Yuen

TRU WolfPack's Kaitlyn Widsten fights off two UBC Heat defenders, Roslyn Huber and Ashley Briker.

It took a calculator for the TRU WolfPack women's volleyball team to see where it fits into the Canada West playoffs.

The WolfPack women's basketball team might need a crystal ball to see where it's going to end up.

But both TRU teams do know one thing - they are going to the Canada West playoffs for the first time.

The women volleyballers qualified despite a five-set (25-22, 23-25, 12-25, 25-23, 15-12) loss to the UBC-Okanagan Heat in Kelowna on Sunday.

The hoopsters earned their berth by beating the Heat 80-42 at the Tournament Capital Centre on Saturday, then finished the regular season with a 69-59 victory in Sunday's rematch in Kelowna.

It came down to simple math for the WolfPack volleyball squad, which finished tied for seventh with the Brandon Bobcats (9-11). Because the WolfPack's sets won/lost percentage was a little better (.77 to .75), it got the final playoff spot.

TRU head coach Keith Lundgren had crunched the numbers beforehand, so knew his team was clear once it hit the fifth set Saturday.

"The girls knew right after," Lundgren said Sunday. "I did the math the night before and there were people around telling us. This is very exciting for all of us."

The WolfPack is scheduled to play a best-of-three series against the Alberta Pandas in Edmonton on Friday, Saturday and, if necessary, Sunday.

The women's basketball team, meanwhile, has clinched its first postseason berth, but it has no idea where it will play. TRU finished 9-9, and will start on the road sometime around Feb. 24.

According to WolfPack head coach Scott Reeves, it's either the Saskatchewan Huskies or Regina Cougars.

It all depends on what happens when the Victoria Vikes and UBC Thunderbirds meet in Victoria on Friday. If Victoria (8-9) wins, TRU will take on the Cougars (19-0); a Vikes loss would send the WolfPack to face the Huskies (15-4).

All the WolfPack knows is it will play a best-of-three set against a very good team.

"I plan on giving the kids a couple of days off," Reeves said. "Then we'll go over all our stuff, our defence, offence, fundamentals.

"We've played both teams (Regina and Saskatchewan) tough . . . we have to be on top of our game."

Making the playoffs is quite sweet for Reeves, who joined the WolfPack before the 2006-07 season, and has endured seasons of 2-21, 1-22, 3-19, 3-15 and 9-15.

"It's pretty hard to put into words. This was a big project," Reeves said. "I'd taken high school programs and rebuilt them from the ground up . . . but this was a big chore."

Lundgren's turnaround of the women's volleyball team didn't take quite as long.

Lundgren was hired in the summer of 2010 to take over a team that had gone 1-19 during the 2009-10 season. The WolfPack went 2-16 in Lundgren's first season, but really turned a corner this season.

Much of the success, Lundgren said, can be attributed to his staff - assistant Hayley Hills, strength coach Megann Rodhe and sports psychologist Peter Soberlak - and the players.

"Our big goal this season was to win seven matches," Lundgren said. "Once we did that, we set mini-goals . . . to get this one is really exciting.

"We feel we can play with anyone, so we're focusing on Alberta. We'll celebrate when the season's over."

TRU's Kelly Asleson had a monster match in her regular-season finale. The graduating Richmond native had 17 kills to lead the way, and Amanda Frayne also had 11 kills and 13 digs.

Anne Weiss had nine kills and 33 digs, while Brianne Rauch had nine kills and 10 digs. Sara Pettersson also had 27 digs, and Kara Twomey had 53 set assists.

Alex Basso's 22 kills led the Heat.

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On Sunday, the WolfPack women's basketball team got 23 points from Jen Ju, 12 from Kaitlyn Widsten and 10 from Taiysa Worsfold.

Roslyn Huber had points for UBC-O.

Diane Schuetze had 19 points to lead the WolfPack on Saturday, with Tracy Kocs scoring 17 points and Ju adding 14. Huber scored 12 points for the Heat.

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The WolfPack men's volleyball team finished 3-17 after a three-set (25-16, 25-12, 25-21) loss to the Heat in Kelowna on Saturday.

Aleks Saddlemyer had seven kills to lead the WolfPack, and Mike Hawkins dished 16 set assists. The Heat, which qualified for playoffs in its first Canada West season, was led by Greg Niemantsverdriet's 16 points.

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The WolfPack men's basketball team's season came to an end with a 93-71 loss to the Heat in Kelowna on Sunday.

Chas Kok had 21 points for TRU (6-12), and Justin King scored 19. Yassine Ghomari led the Heat (3-15) with 25 points, and Simon Felland scored 16.

The WolfPack had beaten the Heat 85-69 at the TCC on Saturday.

Kok had 26 points in the victory, and King added 19. Kevin Pribilsky also scored 10 points for TRU.

Pelland had 20 points to lead the Heat, and Ghomari scored 13.

mhunter@kamloopsnews.ca


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