For a stretch, Friday's Canada West women's volleyball match between the TRU WolfPack and the UBC-Okanagan Heat was downright ugly.
And, somehow, both teams' coaches came out of it apparently full of optimism.
The Heat opened the regular season with a decisive sweep of the WolfPack at the Tournament Capital Centre. Set scores were 25-15, 25-9, 25-18.
As the score would indicate, it was a one-sided affair. It was a streaky, error-filled match, as UBC-O dominated against a WolfPack team short on players and short on experience.
TRU only dressed eight players - and only two of those players had Canada West experience.
For WolfPack head coach Keith Lundgren, it's one big learning experience.
"We're working on court balance, we're working on being in the right spots," said Lundgren, who is in his third season as the WolfPack's head coach. "Obviously, it's a learning curve. Some of the errors were definitely (from) our inexperience."
For the Heat, which is in its second season in Canada West, it was a great start. UBC-O was 6-14 and missed the playoffs in 2011-12.
"We're happy," said Heat head coach Steve Manuel. "In Canada West, any win is a good win to get under your belt - two years in a row we've won our season-opener, so we're pretty happy about this."
The match started off poorly for the WolfPack, which fell behind 8-2 in the first set. TRU fought back to make it close midway through the set, but, again, struggled at the end.
TRU got off to an awful start in the second set, and it didn't get much better. At one point, TRU was down 19-3.
The WolfPack scored the first five points of the third set, and got ahead 13-9. UBC-O came back with a 13-1 run and ran away with the set.
"You can see how it's there for a while, and then just peters (out)," Lundgren said. "We've just got to work on the consistency."
Statistically, the WolfPack wasn't great either.
TRU was led by Katarina Osadchuk, who had seven kills and eight digs, and Julia Niemczewska, who had four kills, two aces and three block assists.
UBC-O got nine kills from Alex Basso and seven from Myrte Schon. Setter Emily Oxland dished 26 assists, and also had five of her team's 10 aces. Emily Carroll and Katie Wuttunee each had two aces on what was an impressive serving performance by the Heat.
"Coming into Canada West, and even before we left the college league, we put a lot of emphasis on serving strategically," Manuel said. "Not just hard, but at the right spots at the right times."
The WolfPack doesn't have much time to digest the loss - it is scheduled to play the Heat in Kelowna tonight.
"We've got to put up the numbers and put up the energy," Lundgren said. "If we can do those two things and we can get close to 20 (in each set) then it's anybody's match."
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he WolfPack men's volleyball team opened its Canada West season with a three-set (25-22, 25-18, 25-16) victory over the Heat at the TCC.
The teams will play a rematch in Kelowna today.
It's a big victory for TRU, which went 3-17 and missed the playoffs last season. The WolfPack is hoping to prove last season's last-place finish was a fluke after the team made the playoffs for five straight seasons.
Brad Gunter led an efficient WolfPack attack, getting 10 kills and helping out on five blocks. Hardy Wooldridge had nine kills, and Nic Balazs had five kills and was in on six blocks.
Philip Ozari had six kills, and Colin Carson had 28 set assists to go along with three aces and eight digs.
Riley McFarland had 13 kills for UBC-O.
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he WolfPack men's basketball team lost 79-55 to the NAIA's Northwest University in an exhibition game in Kirkland, Wash., on Friday.
It was TRU's last preseason game. It will open the regular season on Friday against the visiting UNBC Timberwolves.
Brett Rouault had 19 points and six rebounds to lead the WolfPack. Blaz Bozinovic scored eight points
Michael Russo had 19 points to lead Northwest.