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The 2016-17 Canada West campaign should be the season where the TRU women's volleyball team comes of age. The program has grown by 'leaps and bounds' since Chad Grimm took over the helm. Now entering his third season, the WolfPack qualified for the playoffs for the second time in its CIS history. The WolfPack finished the 2015-16 regular season at .500 (12-12). It was only two seasons ago that the WolfPack entered play with a 0-44 record (2012-14).
Individually, Thompson Rivers was led by Ukrainian born Iuliia Pakhomenko (Donetsk), Pakomenko was not only the Canada West MVP and first team all-star, but she was also the CIS player of the year and a first team CIS All-Canadian. That was a first for the school. Later, Pakhomenko was named the Canada West female representative for the prestigious BLG award.
Pakhomenko's brilliant 2015-16 campaign continued as she was invited to train with Canada's Senior Women's National team for two months this summer. After getting married, she is applying to become a Canadian citizen. This will be her final year of CIS play as she completes a Masters of Business.
The WolfPack will look to returning veterans such as middles Kaitlin Lomas (Ponoka, AB) and Morgan Kolasa (Calgary, AB) to provide leadership on the court. Julia Niemczewska (Calgary, AB) will be asked to up her game as well with the departure of Krista Hogewoning at right side. Middle Samantha Sonnenberg (Edmonton, AB) will be given more responsibility this season. She was a rookie in 2015-16 after transferring from the Alberta College Athletic Conference.
Returning outside hitters, Alina Sopizhuk (Dontesk, Ukraine) and sophomore Kendra Finch (North Vancouver, BC) will be expected to be key contributors with the graduation of Brianne Rauch.
An added bonus to the offense will be Rachel Windhorst (Surrey, BC). She ‘red shirted’ last season after coming to TRU from St. Mary’s University (AUS) where she was a CIS first team All Canadian in 2014-15.
Rookies signed for the coming year are: Sarah Dobinson (6”0”, outside hitter, Whitby, ONT-Donald A. Wilson Secondary/Pacmen-Team Ontario Red), Hali Drezet (5.8”, libero, Prince George, BC-Duchess Park Secondary/PGYVC-Team BC/Team Jr Canada), Abby Spratt (5’11”, setter, Calgary, AB-Centennial High School ), Mikayla Funk (5’10”, outside hitter, Surrey, BC-Pacific Christian School/Team BC), Avery Pottle (6’0” middle blocker, Uxbridge, ONT-Uxbridge Secondary/DRVC), and Savannah Guttman (6’0” setter, Dauphin, MB-Dauphin Regional Comprehensive Secondary/Brandon University/Camosun College).