Volleyball team still perfect
by Blaine Meller
There’s an old saying in sports: you can’t win them all until you win the first. Although the season is still early, the Mount Royal women’s volleyball team is well on their way to maybe doing just that.The Cougars are off to a perfect start this season, sitting with a 8-0 record while winning 24 games and losing only two in those eight matches. At press time, Mount Royal sits in a three-way tie for first place in the ACAC with Grande Prairie (8-2) and Lakeland (8-2).
“Our record certainly shows we’ve been on a pretty good run,” said Cougars’ head coach Sandra Lamb. “We’re really happy with our progress so far.” Part of the Cougars’ success can be attributed to a focus on ball control and first contact – what the team does after receiving a serve. That control allows the team to utilize different of fensive looks and helps disguise attack schemes.
Lamb said the team has also worked hard on serving skills, specifically knowing where and when to be aggressive and when to simply put the ball into play. “It’s all part of the strategy. The number 1 thing you want to do is make things difficult for the other team,” said Lamb. Working on these skills, however basic in nature, may seem like a waste of time to some, but the coach insists such is not the case with her squad.
Lamb said the Cougars have been extremely receptive to her teachings. “Sometimes the most important things are the least exciting, but we have really been paying attention to the little things, the little details that can make the difference,” she said. “It’s a matter of repetition.” The play of Mount Royal’s middle core has been another strong suit. Lamb said the contributions of Diyon Van Nistelrooy, Julie Deveson, Lindsey Kist and Shawn Rudland have exceeded expectations, both offensively and defensively. These players are also part of the team’s strong leadership group, she said.
Individually, Andrea Price is leading the ACAC in kills per set, averaging 3.4. MacKenzie Allen is first in assists per set (7.4), while Julia Pasieka (0.9) and Nistelrooy (0.8) and first and fourth respectively in blocks per set. The Cougars play their final home game of 2010 on Dec. 4 when they host King’s University College at 6 p.m. After that, the team won’t play again until Jan. 3 when they pay a return visit to King’s.
The team will play a total of 10 matches in January and February, including a home and home series with rival Red Deer Feb. 4 and 5. Lamb knows how much is riding on these games. “We definitely have some benchmark games coming next semester, but we don’t want to look past what we have in front of us before then,” said Lamb. “We don’t want to become complacent.”