Volleyball squad nearly perfect
Team defending national title in final year
Last year was memorable for Mount Royal University’s women’s volleyball squad.
The 2010/11 campaign saw the Cougars defeating Grande Prairie College to win the ACAC Championship, followed by winning the CCAA National Championship.
Now head Coach Sandra Lamb and her team are looking to duplicate last year’s achievements.
And so far, it’s working splendidly. Through eight games, the Cougars have only one blemish on their record, winning 21 sets and losing six.
“We just got to be prepared to work hard and do the little things in order to try and build,” Lamb said. “And try to have an opportunity again.”
She noted the Cougars are finding success despite losing key veterans this season like fifth-year senior Diyon van Nistelrooy.
“She was a big part of our program for years,” Lamb said.
Also gone is Andrea Price, an all-star MVP and CCAA National Player of the Year, who left after three seasons to play with the University of Calgary Dinos.
On the other hand, the Cougars seven returning players from last year’s championship-winning squad have picked up the slack.
Those key veterans include third-year middle Julia Pasieka, who was an all-conference player and first-team all-star at nationals last year. Also playing a key role is third-year setter Mackenzie Allen, as well Julie Deveson, a third-year libero.
When asked who’s leading the team, Deveson explained the veterans are all capable of taking over.
“We have lots of leadership on the team,” Deveson said. “Everyone steps up and does their own thing.”
Coach Lamb added building team chemistry has been an important part of their success.
“The girls are a year older, with new players coming in, and we have to develop that team chemistry, which is the number one thing,” she explained. “We’re always trying to develop them, whether it’s on the court or off the court.”
For a greater overall experience, Lamb believes that the team’s triumphs off the court are quite important too.
“We try to make them grow academically and athletically,” she said. “When they leave here, they are going to have a good education, with a lot of good memories on and off the court.”
Around the league, she said she believes the “well-coached” Grande Prairie team is tough along with Grant MacEwan, Red Deer, and NAIT. She said she believes every night brings forth a challenge.
“There’s a lot of parity in our league and every team is getting better,” said Lamb. “There’s no easy night and we respect everyone we’re playing. “Everyone is going to be gunning for us and we just got to stay the course and keep developing.”