Lady Dinos on their way to nationals

By Tyler Johnson

The lady Dinos secured a spot in the CIS Women’s Volleyball Nationals this weekend by defeating the Winnipeg Wesmen in two straight games during their best of three series. The team now advances to the final four Canada West Conference Championships hosted by the U of A Pandas this weekend. The Dinos will take on the number two seed UBC Thunderbirds in the first round–and if they can take the thunder away from UBC they will advance to the finals, and have the possibility of bringing home their third consecutive Canada West title.

The Dinos grinded out a tough five-set victory on Friday night after dropping the second and third sets to the Wesmen. On Saturday, Calgary was ready to play and dished out a thorough beating, taking down the Wesman in four sets. Even though the Dinos came out victorious on the weekend, they still need to work on consistency.

“We need to have more of a killer instinct and finish teams off, keep

our composure and stay steady,” stated Head Coach Kevin Boyles. Boyles was pleased with the fact that his team clinched a spot at nationals and will only be three wins away from a national title once they arrive in Quebec City.

Even with the team slipping, the experience of players like Tracy Keats and Heather Wearmouth who were named players of the game kept them in the matches.

“I don’t know what it is–if it’s just the fact that we get too comfortable or too relaxed but we always seem to let teams come back,” said Captain Tracy Keats.

Keats, who was not expected to play because of an injured ankle came into the game on Friday after the Dinos were down.

“I just tried to forget about my injury, it’s playoffs and it keeps you motivated,” she said. Fans would

never have suspected she wasn’t 100 per cent by watching her motivational return on Friday which turned the game around. Keats also showed off her dazzling play on Saturday including the game ending kill from the back row–set up by none other than fellow fifth-year Wearmouth

“I was feeling pretty confident, I knew Winnipeg would come out strong but I also knew what I had to do,” stated Wearmouth. “Everyone really stepped it up and we were on fire. It was just too good to set Tracy up on the last ball–I knew she

would get the kill.”

The focus of attention might have been on Keats and Wearmouth who played their last home games, but some of the spotlight was stolen by fellow Dinos Joanna Niemczewska and Co-Captain Amanda Moppett who also contributed with outstanding performances.

Niemczewska, who was expected to provide much of the offense and power did not disappoint. With 32 kills, two aces, and 23 digs she blew the Wesmen away with her manly power–and will hopefully keep up this level of play for the rest of the playoffs. Dictating both games offensively and defensively with 27 kills, one ace, and 37 digs was Moppett–who always came up with the big plays.

“We need to regroup after an error and make sure we do not commit another,” she said. “If we overcome our tendency to make two errors in a row we can win games in three straight sets.”

Calgary is a team on a mission; they are smart, skilled and know what needs to get done. It is just a matter of capitalizing on the opportunity at hand. The team has all the tools to go all the way. Will they win the national title? Only the team will tell.’Fourth-year Dino and Co-Captain Amanda Moppett was named Canada West Player of the Year for 2002/03 and was nominated for the Therese Quigley Award.

“It was so surprising” said Moppett. “Our team has always been shafted, so it was an honour to receive the award.”

Moppett knows that it was not only her hard work that got her noticed but also the team’s.

“I couldn’t have done it with out my teammates” she added.

But Moppett was not the only one to receive honours–Janelle Findlay was named Canada West Rookie of the Year.

“It is good for the confidence, and the award itself is exciting,” stated Findlay.