It took two sets for the TRU WolfPack to play the way head coach Keith Lundgren wanted it to play.
The result was a season-opening loss for the WolfPack, which dropped a Canada West women's volleyball match in three sets (25-16, 25-11, 25-23) to the UBC-Okanagan Heat at the Tournament Capital Centre on Friday night. The teams will tangle in Kelowna tonight.
In the first two sets, the WolfPack looked very much like the team that went 0-22 last season. In the third set, TRU played better, but it was far too little and much too late.
"I told the girls, if this is our minimum standard, that's great," Lundgren said. "We can build from here - we're playing much better (than) in exhibition."
The Heat is one of the stronger teams in Canada West, finishing 15-7 last season to take third in the conference. Canada West coaches ranked the Heat fourth in preseason voting.
The Heat was solid throughout, hitting 32.5 per cent in a clean effort. UBC-O took full advantage of a WolfPack team whose starting lineup featured five players who didn't suit up for the team in 2012-13.
The Heat's roster, meanwhile, is a nice mix of young and old and, with the exception of the occasional bout of nerves, all of its players filled their roles nicely.
"(We're) young, but it's the core that we've had together for three years now," said Heat head coach Steve Manuel. "They know what to expect - they've been thrown to the wolves from the time they arrived with us in Canada West."
TRU outside hitter Brianne Rauch, who last played in 2011-12, was excellent, pounding a team-high 10 kills and digging four balls. Rauch missed last season due to injury but didn't appear to miss a beat.
Morgan Kolasa, another player who missed last season because of an injury, and Julie Niemczewska each had five kills, and rookie Kaitlin Lomas had three kills and was in on three of TRU's five blocks.
TRU also made 10 service errors, which had Lundgren scratching his head.
"We kind of let ourselves down with our serving," he said. "We're a very good serving team and . . . 10 errors - we only want to make one error per set."
Kaitlynn Given had 19 of UBC-Okanagan's 40 kills, and Megan Festival had nine.
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The WolfPack men opened their season against the Heat in Kelowna, and came home with a three-set (25-23, 25-20, 25-22) victory.
Brad Gunter had 18 kills for the WolfPack, and Philip Ozari had nine. Colin Carson dished 36 assists. Nate Speijer had 15 kills to lead the Heat, and Jeremy Fostvelt had 10 digs.
The teams will meet tonight, 7 o'clock, in a rematch at the TCC.
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The WolfPack men's basketball team is playing host to an exhibition tournament, and defeated the Northwest College Eagles 89-76 last night.
Reese Pribilsky had 18 points to lead the WolfPack, Tallon Milne scored 15 and Ta-Quan Zimmerman and Will Ondrik each scored 13. Josh Wolfram added 12 points to the winning cause.
TRU is set to take on the Evergreen State College Geoducks today, 4 p.m., at the TCC.