The pre-season has officially begun for the Wesmen women’s volleyball team. Last weekend they headed to Regina and played in their first Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) tournament of the year.
The Wesmen started out the tournament strong, with two wins against the Calgary Dinos (3-1), and the Saskatchewan Huskies (3-2).
They lost the third game of the round robin to the Regina Cougars, and then lost the semi-final to the Alberta Pandas on Saturday afternoon.
In their final game of the tournament, the Wesmen fought hard, keeping every set close, but in the end lost 3-0 to the Saskatchewan Huskies in the bronze medal game.
Despite the losses, it was a growing experience for the Wesmen, and head coach Diane Scott felt good about the team going into the weekend. It was an opportunity to learn to play together and see how they compare to other squads.
“Lots of good CanWest teams participate in this tournament,” Scott said going into the weekend. “It will give us a good measuring stick for where we’re at.”
Scott feels that the team is substantially ahead of where it was at last September and is looking forward to the season.
Returning fourth-year captain Lauren Sears agrees and feels that the team has a different attitude this year, which will give them an edge.
“I think we’re definitely ahead of where we started last year ... we’ve a very competitive group this year,” she said.
Scott attributes the women’s hard work while training over the summer to the strength of this year’s team. She said that although there are a number of new players, the team already has great chemistry. Last year’s CIS Rookie of the Year, Sonia Rossy, feels the same way.
“I feel that the team really bonded quickly, and that the rookies blend in well,” Rossy said.
As the team prepares for season, Scott is looking to a number of returning players to provide leadership for the team. Co-captains Seares and Alix Krahn are expected to perform well on the court, and also to push the girls in practices and training.
“She’s really done a great job in ... (providing) leadership,” Scott said of Seares. “She’s willing to work hard on and off the court.”
Additional leadership will come from returning athletes, such as Carleen Kruschel and Alicia Perry. Though only entering her second-year, Kruschel will play a vital role this year, according to Scott.
“She leads a lot by example, in terms of how hard she works,” the coach said. “Plus, academically, it’s hard to beat Carleen.”
Last year the women’s volleyball team had the second highest percentage of CIS academics of all Canadians in the Wesmen program, and Scott is intent on keeping the girls’ focus on their academics, as well as volleyball.
You can catch the Wesmen in another pre-season tournament when they play the Brandon Bobcats, Friday, Oct. 1 at 1 p.m. in the Duckworth Centre, and then at 7 p.m. when they take on cross-town rivals, the Manitoba Bisons.
Published in Volume 65, Number 5 of The Uniter (September 30, 2010)