Wesmen volleyball seasons come to a close short of nationals

Big wins, tough losses mark men’s and women’s season

Fourth year Wesmen men’s volleyball player Justin Duff was recently named a First Team All-Canadian. The Wesmen ended their season with a record of 19 wins and 16 losses. Scott Stewart - TWU Athletics

The 2009–2010 Wesmen Men’s Volleyball team started out the season with six talented new athletes in the program.

The team was first put to the test this season in Regina and Brandon pre-season tournaments. In the Brandon tournament, the Wesmen were destroyed by Brandon 3–0. However, the two teams met again in the tournament final.

“We showed ourselves the level we could play at,” Coach Larry McKay remembered.

They beat Brandon 3–1 to win the match.

By the end of the first half of the season, the Wesmen did not have the record they had anticipated. The men’s record was 4–5.

“There was a feeling amongst the group of questioning each other,” McKay noted.

However, the team started off strong in the second half of the season and swept the Saskatchewan Huskies in the first match in January.

Fourth-year CIS All Canadian, Justin Duff, remembers the weekend well.

“We had just [come] off a bit of a slump, and we played two of our best matches of the season against them,” he said.

The men’s record improved to 11–7 by the time playoffs began. The Wesmen had a tough draw and had to travel to Trinity Western University in Langley, B.C. for the first round CanWest Playoffs in a best of three series.

After losing the first match on Thursday, Feb. 25, the team fought back and took Friday’s match 3–0. Yet the Wesmen came up short on Saturday night, when Trinity ended the Wesmen season, defeating U of W in three sets.

“It’s really unfortunate how it ended, but it just goes to show how competitive Canada West is as a division,” Duff said.

Dan Lother was named to the CanWest Second All-Star Team, while Matthew Schriemer was named CIS Rookie of the year.

This year saw new life in the Wesmen Women’s Volleyball team. After coming off a tough 2008–2009 season, the Wesmen were ready to turn the game around.

Coach Diane Scott had a successful recruiting year, as seven promising athletes joined the Wesmen including Sonia Rossy, who became the 2009–2010 CIS Rookie of the Year.

The season kicked off at the University of British Columbia against last year’s defending national champions, the Thunderbirds.

Veteran Ariel Smith remembered the weekend as a good experience for the team because although they lost 3–0 both nights, the Wesmen competed well in every set.

On Nov. 6 and 7, 2009, while on the road once again, the Wesmen took on Alberta. The Wesmen dropped the Friday night match 3–0, but came back to win on Saturday.

“It showed us that we could compete with the top teams. It was a big win for us,” commented Smith.

When the second half of the season began on Jan. 15, the Wesmen came out strong. While both matches were competitive, the Wesmen defeated the St. Mary’s Huskies convincingly both times.

Unfortunately, the Wesmen faced top teams near the end of the regular-season, including Trinity, Regina and Calgary, all of whom made it to the national championships this year. Though Smith commented that the Wesmen were competitive in the matches, they were unable to pull off the wins and, at season’s end, did not have the record needed to make playoffs.

However, looking back at the season, Smith, who was named to the CanWest Second All-Star Team, smiled.

“It was great,” she said. “I love the girls, and Di pushed us to our limits, which was beneficial to our team and made us compete to the best of our capabilities.”

Published in Volume 64, Number 23 of The Uniter (March 18, 2010)

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