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WVB | Defence does it as Wesmen upset No. 8 team in nation

Setter Rylie Dickson gets low to play a ball during the Wesmen women's volleyball team's straight-sets win over the Thompson Rivers Wolfpack on Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. (David Larkins/Wesmen Athletics)
Setter Rylie Dickson gets low to play a ball during the Wesmen women's volleyball team's straight-sets win over the Thompson Rivers Wolfpack on Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. (David Larkins/Wesmen Athletics)

DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics

The Winnipeg Wesmen once again used an inspired defensive effort to carry themselves to a win, this time upsetting one of the top-ranked teams in Canada.

The Wesmen women's volleyball team held the Thompson Rivers Wolfpack to a season-low .080 attacking and had three players in double-digit digs in upsetting the No. 8-ranked Wolfpack 3-0 (25-19, 25-21, 25-22) Friday night at the Duckworth Centre.

It was the first time this season the Wolfpack (9-4) have been swept in conference play.

Kalena Schulz had 14 kills and 12 digs for her second double-double of the season to lead the Wesmen, who improved to 6-7 in conference play just days after completing a five-matches-in-three-days championship run at their own Wesmen Classic. Schulz hit .423 for the match and the Wesmen as a team hit .228.

"We can defend like crazy and get another chance, and if we don't get an attack, well, we can get another chance because we were defending so well," Wesmen interim head coach Phil Hudson said. "Defence is just about hard work and effort. Everybody's a bit banged-up after the Wesmen Classic but they're just defending like crazy. They're just putting so much emphasis on making the other team work so hard to get a point."

Emma Parker had 10 kills and eight digs for Winnipeg, which also got eight kills and 11 digs from Ashleigh Laube and 11 digs from setter Rylie Dickson.

Kendra Finch led Thompson Rivers with five kills and 13 digs. Hali Drezet had a match-high 18 digs for TRU.

One of Winnipeg's most critical runs came with the Wolfpack rallying a bit of momentum early in the third set and taking an 8-4 lead. The Wesmen, however, scored eight of the next 10 points to take a two-point lead at 12-10.

Then, after falling behind 22-21, the Wesmen got a kill from Schulz, a kill from Parker, an ace from Parker and another kill from Schulz to close out the upset. 

"I think we put ourselves in a tough spot," TRU head coach Chad Grimm said. "We didn't pass the ball very well, but we also made poor choices and gave away way too many free points. I thought Winnipeg played a great match and they defended well and they didn't make out-of-system errors like we did."

The two teams meet again Saturday with first serve set for 6:45 p.m.

—#REPTHEW—