With the volleyball season approaching, both University of Winnipeg Wesmen teams are playing in preseason tournaments later this month.
The women’s team will have a chance to play the Lakehead University Thunderwolves, the Brandon University Bobcats, the University of Regina Cougars and the University of Manitoba Bisons at the Unruh Realty Volleyball Challenge. Held in Winnipeg, this tournament takes place from Friday, Sept. 27 to Sunday, Sept. 29.
The men’s team will travel to Brandon to play the Brandon University Bobcats, the Université Laval Rouge et Or and the University of Saskatchewan Huskies. This preseason tournament is happening over the same weekend.
Larry McKay is entering his 28th season as the Wesmen men’s volleyball head coach. A member of the Manitoba Volleyball Association Hall of Fame, he has also coached the Canadian national team.
When asked about what he’s most excited about for the upcoming season and what his team’s biggest challenge is, he gives the same succinct answer: “the next practice.”
McKay believes his team’s biggest strength is its players. He notes the amount of training his athletes have done over the summer.
“Players and staff have prepared for six months to get here,” he says.
Out of the 20-person squad, eight are first-year players: Ben Traa, Josh Terin, Justin Stecher, Michael Sa, Kalen Reyes, Liam Markesteyn, Jeff Peitsch and Liam Kristjanson.
The Wesmen men’s team plays their first conference game on Saturday, Oct. 19 against the UBC Thunderbirds in Winnipeg. Likewise, the Wesmen women’s volleyball team also plays their first conference game against UBC that day in Winnipeg.
Felixe Sturk-Lussier, a third-year player on the women’s team, is “super excited” for the upcoming season.
“The energy in the gym is already really competitive and positive,” she says. “Everyone gives their 100 per cent every day, whether that’s on the court or studying for exams, and I think our striving for all-round personal excellence is really inspiring.”
In terms of her team’s biggest challenge this season, Sturk-Lussier says that “understanding and finding pride in our different contributions is going to be super important.”
“Being a part of the process and watching our growth unfold throughout the season as we get to challenge some of the top teams in the country is going to be a real privilege,” she says.
New recruits for the Wesmen women’s volleyball team are Leia Jaworski from Springfield Collegiate, Selva Planincic from Sturgeon Heights Collegiate and Alexa Wiecorkiewicz from River East Collegiate.
For more information on the Wesmen volleyball teams, visit wesmen.ca.
Published in Volume 74, Number 4 of The Uniter (September 26, 2019)